BACKGROUND: Anxiety and depression following traumatic brain injury (TBI) are associated with poorer outcomes. A brief self-report questionnaire would assist in identifying those at risk, however validity of such measures is complicated by confounding symptoms of the injury. This study investigated the validity of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), in screening for clinical diagnoses of anxiety and mood disorders following TBI. METHODS: One hundred and twenty-three participants with mild to severe TBI were interviewed using the SCID (Axis I) and completed the DASS and HADS. RESULTS: The DASS, DASS21 and HADS scales demonstrated validity compared with SCID diagnoses of anxiety and mood disorders as measured by Area Under ROC Curve, sensitivity and specificity. Validity of the DASS depression scale benefited from items reflecting symptoms of devaluation of life, self-deprecation, and hopelessness that are not present on the HADS. Validity of the HADS anxiety scale benefited from items reflecting symptoms of tension and worry that are measured separately for the DASS on the stress scale. LIMITATIONS: Participants were predominantly drawn from a rehabilitation centre which may limit the extent to which results can be generalized. Scores for the DASS21 were derived from the DASS rather than being administered separately. CONCLUSIONS: The DASS, DASS21 and HADS demonstrated validity as screening measures of anxiety and mood disorders in this TBI sample. The findings support use of these self-report questionnaires for individuals with TBI to identify those who should be referred for clinical diagnostic follow-up.