Todd Phelps

Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Justin D. McDonald


This research investigated the validity of a Culturally Sensitive Depression Scale (CSDS). Data were collected on 30 Native American youth living throughout South Dakota. Participants underwent a condensed semi-structured clinical interview for Major Depressive Disorder to confirm diagnosed (n=16) or undiagnosed (n=14). Participants completed two depression scales: the Columbia Depression Scale (CDS) and the CSDS. Both scales were tested for criterion-related validity via concurrent validity which analyzed each scale’s accuracy in categorizing diagnosed and undiagnosed individuals. Construct validity was tested via convergent validity through the Pearson product-moment correlation between the CDS and CSDS. Area Under Curve (AUC) analysis tested each scale's separability capability and optimal cutoff score. Results indicated both the CDS and CSDS have fair criterion-related validity. Construct validity was middling between the CDS and CSDS. AUC analysis indicates fair separability for each scale with a CDS cutoff score of 6.5 and a CSDS score of 7. Qualitative analysis showed undiagnosed individuals felt more comfortable with CDS items than diagnosed individuals. Results suggest culturally sensitive psychometrics should be made available for diverse clients and utilized by clinicians for a more thorough client understanding. By doing so, clinicians can enhance their client-centered approach by co-creating a treatment plan rooted in culture rather than doing therapy-as-usual. Study limitations and future directions of research are included.