The Positive Thinking Skills Scale: A screening measure for early identification of depressive thoughts

Abir K. Bekhet*, Mauricio Garnier-Villarreal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Depression is currently considered the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Positive thinking is a cognitive process that helps individuals to deal with problems more effectively, and has been suggested as a useful strategy for coping with adversity, including depression. The Positive Thinking Skills Scale (PTSS) is a reliable and valid measure that captures the frequency of use of positive thinking skills that can help in the early identification of the possibility of developing depressive thoughts. However, no meaningful cutoff score has been established for the PTSS. Aim To establish a cutoff score for the PTSS for early identification of risk for depression. Methods This study used a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve to establish a PTSS cutoff score for risk for depression, using the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D) as the gold standard measure. Results In a sample of 109 caregivers, the ROC showed that the cutoff score of PTSS that best classify the participants is 13.5. With this PTSS score, 77.8% of the subjects with low CES-D are classify correctly, and 69.6% of the subjects with high CES-D are classify correctly. Since the PTSS score should be integer numbers, functionally the cutoff would be 13. Conclusion The study showed that a cut off score of 13 is a point at which referral, intervention, or treatment would be recommended. Consequently, this can help in the early identification of depressive symptoms that might develop because of the stress of caregiving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-8
Number of pages4
JournalApplied nursing research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Caregivers
  • Depression
  • Positive thinking


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