Cross-Cultural Psychometric Properties of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale

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Objective: The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) is considered the gold standard measure of depression. The factor structure of the HDRS is generally unstable, but 4 to 8 items appear to form a general depression factor. As transcultural studies of the HDRS have received little attention, and as most of the studies have taken a data-driven approach with a tendency to yield fragmented results, it is not clear if an HDRS general depression factor can also be found in non-Western populations. This is an important issue in deciding on the appropriateness of the scale as a gold standard in transcultural psychiatry.
Method: A systematic review was carried out to compare previously reported factor structures of the HDRS in non-Western cultures. Overlapping clusters across studies were identified and subsequently tested with confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of responses from an independent sample.
Results: Fourteen relevant studies were identified, 12 of which were obtained. A general depression factor was identified, consisting of the following symptoms: depressed mood, guilt, loss of interests, retardation, suicide, and psychological anxiety. The subsequent CFA analysis supported the fit of this model.
Conclusions: This study indicates that a general depression cluster is manifest in responses to the HDRS across cultures. While psychometric properties of the full-length HDRS are still debated, the general depression cluster appears pertinent to the assessment of depression across cultures. We recommend that cross-cultural clinicians and researchers focus on the use of unidimensional depression scales, which are in agreement with this cluster.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Canadian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)39–46
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 196473107