Symptom Distress Scale
Name of Questionnaire
Symptom Distress Scale (SDS)
Cancer-specific tool for assessing cancer-related symptoms.
Subjects respond about how they have been feeling during the
preceding week. Validation with chronic disease (primarily cancer)
Professor Ruth McCorkle
School of Nursing
100 Church Street South
New Haven, CT 06536
Cost & availability
Permission to use instrument is granted upon request.
Time to complete
Number of items
Domains & categories
Name of categories/domains
Scaling of items
1 to 5 Likert-type scales, with 5 indicating the most
Items rated 3 or higher are considered to indicate serious
distress. A total summed score of 25 or above indicates moderate
distress; scores of 33 or above indicate severe distress that
requires immediate intervention1.
|a. Test-retest/ reproducibility
|b. Internal consistency
Compared with Ware's health perception questionnaire in cancer
patients2. Discriminated between cancer
patients and cardiac patients2.
Instrument scores correlated with survival3.
Minimally important difference
Not reported (testing is ongoing1)
Reported - symptom distress in women with advanced lung cancer5, symptom distress in cancer6
Dutch, English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese
- McCorkle R, Cooley ME, Shea JA. A user's
manual for the Symptom Distress Scale. 1998; Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania.
- McCorkle R. The measurement of symptom
distress. Seminars in Oncology Nursing 1987;3:248-56.
- Kukull WA, McCorkle R, Driever M.
Symptom distress, psychosocial variables and survival from lung
cancer. J Psychosocial Onc 1986;4:91-104.
- McCorkle R, Benoliel JQ, Donaldson G,
Georgiadou F, Moinpour C, Goodell B. A randomized clinical trial of
home nursing care for lung cancer patients. Cancer
- Sarna L, Brecht M-L. Dimensions of
symptom distress in women with advanced lung cancer: a factor
analysis. Heart Lung 1997;26:23-30.
- Degner LF, Sloan JA. Symptom distress in
newly diagnosed ambulatory cancer patients and as a predictor of
survival in lung cancer. J Pain Symptom Manage 1995;10:423-31.
Date of information