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How often felt sad, past 30 days (adults)


[ PRELIMINARY VARIABLE: Variable description may change once we confirm the universe and assess the comparability of this variable over time. ]

ASAD reports responses to the question, "During the past 30 days, how often did you feel so sad that nothing could cheer you up?"

Related Variables

ASAD is one of a series of six variables whose responses can be summed as a scale measuring nonspecific psychological distress over a 30-day recall period. This scale, developed by Ronald C. Kessler and known as the Kessler 6 Scale (K6), asks about six manifestations of nonspecific psychological distress.


Kessler's instrument asks how often, during the past 30 days, the respondent felt:

  • So sad that nothing could cheer you up? (ASAD)
  • That everything was an effort? (AEFFORT)

As noted above, acceptable responses fell into five categories, ranging from "none of the time" to "all of the time."

Scoring Variables 

Kessler recommends scoring the scale by assigning 0 to 4 points for each of these six questions, based on the reported frequency of the feelings (i.e., 0 for "none of the time"; 1 for "a little of the time"; 2 for "some of the time"; 3 for "most of the time"; and 4 for "all of the time"). The range for summed responses on the K6 Scale is thus 0 to 24, with 0 suggesting the lowest level of nonspecific psychological distress, and 24 suggesting the highest level of nonspecific psychological distress. According to the scoring criteria proposed by Kessler, persons with a score of 13 or greater are likely to be experiencing severe mental illness.

The summed score is reported in K6SUM.

Codes and Frequencies

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The comparability of this variable over time has not yet been assessed.


The universe for this variable has not yet been confirmed.


  • 2004-2019



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