Psychometric properties of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale in multiple sclerosis

Simona Raimo, Luigi Trojano, Daniele Spitaleri, Vittorio Petretta, Dario Grossi, Gabriella Santangelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is frequently associated with depressive symptoms and major depression. Objective: We assessed psychometric properties of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS, 17-item version) for assessing depressive symptomatology in a sample of MS patients. Methods: 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. Results: 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 (rrho = .85) and good divergent validity with respect to remaining NPI subdomains (rrho 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. Conclusion: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1973-1980
Number of pages8
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 21 2015


  • Hamilton depression rating scale
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Validation study and depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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