Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R)

Clinical Summary

Jump to: Tool Description | Interpretability | Measurement Property Summary

Tool Description

  • screening measure of general psychiatric symptomatology.
  • Items include dimensions measuring somatization, obsessive-compulsive, depression, anxiety, phobic anxiety, hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism.
  • can be used to screen for psychiatric disorders and has been found useful in quantifying a variety of emotional reactions in adults following SCI

ICF Domain:

Body Function – Subcategory: Mental Functions

Number of Items:


Brief Instructions for Administration & Scoring


  • Self-report questionnaire.
  • Patients are asked to rate the severity of their experiences with 90 symptoms over the past week on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 ‘not at all’ to 4 ‘extremely’.
  • The symptoms are assigned to 9 dimensions reflecting various types of psychopathology.
  • Administration time is usually less than 15 minutes.

Equipment: None.


  • Items are summed for a total score.


MCID: not established
SEM: not established
MDC: not established

  • The SCL-90-R is normed for 4 groups: adult psychiatric outpatients; adult non-patients; adult psychiatric inpatients; and adolescent non-patients. This information is available in the SCL-90-R manual.
  • There is no normative data for the SCI population at this time.


The instrument is available in English, Spanish and French.

Training Required:

None formally required.


The SCL-90-R test and manual can be purchased at:

Starter kits are approximately $50.

Clinical Considerations

  • The SCL-90-R is best used to screen for global psychological distress.
  • This questionnaire has received much research attention and as a result normative scores are available for a variety of patient and non-patient populations.
  • The instrument requires a reading knowledge equivalent to that of a sixth grade education.

Measurement Property Summary

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 2


  • Internal consistency of the cognitive/affective depression subscale is excellent (Cronbach’s a=0.89).
  • Internal consistency of the somatic depression subscale is adequate (Cronbach’s a=0.62).

[Buckelew et al. 1988]


  • The SCL-90-R subscales were correlated with the Medically-Based Emotional Distress Scale (MEDS) which measures the same constructs; correlations were poor to excellent for the SCL-90-R Depression subscale (r=0.15-0.72), SCL-90-R Hostility subscale (r=0.14-0.72), adequate for SCL-90-R Anxiety subscale (r=0.48-0.59) and adequate to excellent for the SCL-90-R Interpersonal Sensitivity subscale (r=0.44-0.71).

[Buckelew et al. 1988, Overholser et al. 1993]


No values were reported for the responsiveness of the SCL-90-R for the SCI population.

Floor/ceiling effect:

No values were reported for the presence of floor/ceiling effects in the SCL-90-R for the SCI population.


Dr. Janice Eng, Christie Chan

Date Last Updated:

Feb 1, 2013