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BACKGROUND: Given the criticisms of life event checklists and the costs associated with interviews, life event research requires a sophisticated but easy-to-use measure for research and clinical practice. Therefore, the Computerized Life Events and Assessment Record (CLEAR), based on the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS), was developed. OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to test CLEAR's reliability, validity, and association with depression. METHODS: CLEAR, the General Health Questionnaire, and the List of Threatening Experiences Questionnaire (LTE-Q) were completed by 328 participants (126 students; 202 matched midlife sample: 127 unaffected controls, 75 recurrent depression cases). Test-retest reliability over 3-4 weeks was examined and validity determined by comparing CLEAR with LEDS and LTE-Q. Both CLEAR and LTE-Q were examined in relation to depression. RESULTS: CLEAR demonstrated good test-retest reliability for the overall number of life events (0.89) and severe life events (.60). Long-term problems showed similar findings. In terms of validity, CLEAR severe life events had moderate sensitivity (59.1%) and specificity (65.4%) when compared with LEDS. CLEAR demonstrated moderate sensitivity (43.1%) and specificity (78.6%) when compared with LTE-Q. CLEAR severe life events and long-term problems were significantly associated with depression (odds ratio, OR 3.50, 95% CI 2.10 to 5.85, P<.001; OR 3.38, 95% CI 2.02 to 5.67, P<.001, respectively), whereas LTE-Q events were not (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.43 to 2.60, P=.90). CONCLUSIONS: CLEAR has acceptable reliability and validity and predicts depression. It, therefore, has great potential for effective use in research and clinical practice identifying stress-related factors for the onset and maintenance of depression and related disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


JMIR Ment Health

Publication Date





depression, health technology, internet, life change events, life stress, psychological tests, psychometrics