Standardizing the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale: past, present, and future

  • Janet B. W. Williams
Rating Scales


The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) has become the most widely used depression severity rating scale in the world. It was originally published by Max Hamilton in 1960 to measure severity of depression in previously diagnosed depressed inpatients. Since that time, multiple versions of the scale have been created, although authors are rarely clear about which version they used. In addition, structured interview guides, self-report forms, and computerized versions have been developed in an effort to standardize administration of the scale and improve the psychometric characteristics of the individual items. The history of the development of these features is discussed, and the various versions of the scale are summarized in tables. This article is a fitting tribute to Per Bech, who has contributed so much to the assessment of depression severity.

Key words

Depression severity Hamilton Depression Scale depression interview 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit 60New YorkUSA

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