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01-08-2015 | Uitgave 8/2015

Quality of Life Research 8/2015

Psychometric properties of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale in multiple sclerosis

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 8/2015
Simona Raimo, Luigi Trojano, Daniele Spitaleri, Vittorio Petretta, Dario Grossi, Gabriella Santangelo



Multiple sclerosis (MS) is frequently associated with depressive symptoms and major depression.


We assessed psychometric properties of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS, 17-item version) for assessing depressive symptomatology in a sample of MS patients.


Seventy patients (aged 43.3 ± 10.3 years) completed the HDRS and a thorough clinical and neuropsychological assessment, including diagnosis of major depression according to the established clinical criteria.


HDRS was easy to administer and acceptable, and showed fair internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.8). The HDRS showed good convergent validity with respect to neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI) subdomain of depression (r rho = .85) and good divergent validity with respect to remaining NPI subdomains (r rho < .30). Moreover, HDRS’s total score correlated moderately with functional disability and apathetic symptomatology, and poorly with general cognitive status. Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis demonstrated that a cutoff >14.5 can identify clinically relevant depressive symptoms with good sensitivity (93 %) and specificity (97 %) with respect to the diagnosis of major depression. Such a cutoff identified clinically relevant depressive symptoms in 42 % of our MS sample, whereas 44.2 % patients met established clinical criteria for major depression.


The HDRS can be considered as an easy, reliable, and valid tool to assess depressive symptomatology for clinical and research purposes in non-demented MS patients.

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