BACKGROUND: This study aimed to culturally verify and examine the empirical psychometric properties of the Indonesian versions of the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale - Revised (CESD-R), the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale - 10 items (K10) and a subset of 6 items of the K10, the K6 to detect depressive and anxiety disorders among older adolescents in Indonesia. METHODS: The empirical psychometric properties were examined formally among students aged 16-18 years attending high schools in Jakarta. The scales were validated against the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents (MINI-Kid) modules for major depressive episode, dysthymia, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. RESULTS: In total, 196 students contributed complete data. All of the scales had Cronbach’s alpha >0.8. The areas under the ROC Curve of CESD-R against MINI depressive disorders and K10/K6 against MINI depressive and anxiety disorders were at moderate to high accuracy levels (0.78 to 0.86). The optimal cut-off value of CESD-R (scores ranging: 0-60) to screen for any depressive disorder is >/=20 (sensitivity 75.0%; specificity 79.9%). The optimal cut-off value of K10 to detect any depressive/anxiety disorders is >/=18 (sensitivity 85.7%; specificity 74.7%); and K6 is >/=12 (sensitivity 81.0%; specificity 76.6%); LIMITATIONS: The school-based sample limits the generalisability of the findings to this group. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the CESD-R I is a useful tool for screening for depressive disorders and both the K10 I and K6 I are useful for screening for any depressive or anxiety disorders among Indonesian adolescents.
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