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Experienced serious psychological distress - K6 scale

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For sample adults, PDISTRESSK6 reports whether the respondent experienced serious psychological distress as classified by the Kessler 6 Scale (K6). Kessler's instrument asks respondents six questions about their feelings during the previous 30 days and then scores their responses on a spectrum of between 0 and 24 points. A score of 13 or higher is generally considered indicative of serious mental illness. PDISTRESSK6 is a dichotomous variable that reflects whether the respondent's total score is above or below the 13-point threshold.

Users can recreate the score that underlies PDISTRESSK6 by summing the response scores for the six K6 variables: ASAD, ANERVOUS, ARESTLESS, AHOPELESS, AEFFORT, and AWORTHLESS. For more information about the K6 instrument and scoring, see the individual variable descriptions.


There are no comparability issues with this variable.


  • 2021: Sample adults 18+


  • 2021