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03-10-2018 | Brief Communication | Uitgave 1/2019

Quality of Life Research 1/2019

Normative values for the distress thermometer (DT) and the emotion thermometers (ET), derived from a German general population sample

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 1/2019
Andreas Hinz, Alex J. Mitchell, Csaba L. Dégi, Anja Mehnert-Theuerkauf



The distress thermometer (DT) and the emotion thermometers (ET) are short screening instruments for use in oncological practice. The aim of this study was to provide normative values and to analyze the correlational structure of the ET.


A representative sample of the adult German general population (N = 2437) completed the ET, the PHQ-4, the FACIT-fatigue scale, and the demoralization scale.


The percentages of people above the cutoff (≥ 4) and the mean scores of the five ET scales were as follows: distress: 39.0%, M = 3.15 ± 2.62, anxiety: 12.3%, M = 1.36 ± 1.93, depression: 16.1%, M = 1.65 ± 2.11, anger: 24.5%, M = 2.33 ± 2.16, and need for help: 10.7%, M = 1.18 ± 1.90. Women reported significantly higher levels of burden than men, with effect sizes between 0.07 (anger) and 0.36 (anxiety). All ET dimensions were interrelated (r between 0.44 and 0.69) and significantly correlated with the other scales (r between 0.36 and 0.68).


The normative scores can help qualify assessments of groups of patients. The new four dimensions of the ET provide relevant additional information that is not already covered by the DT.

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