Measuring the severity of depression and remission in primary care: Validation of the HAMD-7 scale

Roger S. McIntyre, Jakub Z. Konarski, Deborah A. Mancini, Kari A. Fulton, Sagar V. Parikh, Sophie Grigoriadis, Larry A. Grupp, David Bakish, Marie Josee Filteau, Chris Gorman, Charles B. Nemeroff, Sidney H. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Background: Symptomatic remission is the optimal outcome in depression. A brief, validated tool for symptom measurement that can indicate when remission has occurred in mental health and primary care settings is unavailable. We evaluated a 7-item abbreviated version (HAMD-7) of the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17) in a randomized controlled clinical trial of patients with major depressive disorder being cared for in primary care settings. Methods: We enrolled 454 patients across 47 primary care settings who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for a major depressive disorder. Of these, 410 patients requiring antidepressant medication were randomized to have their symptoms rated with either HAMD-7 (n = 205) or HAMD-17 (n = 205) as the primary measurement tool. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who achieved a-priori defined responses to 8 weeks of therapy using each instrument. Results: Of the 205 participants per group, 67% of those evaluated with HAMD-7 were classified as having responded to therapy (defined as a ≥ 50% reduction from the pretreatment score), compared with 74% of those evaluated with HAMD-17 (p = 0.43). The difference between the groups' changes in scores from baseline (pretreatment) to endpoint was significant (p < 0.001), without a main effect of group (p = 0.84) or group-by-time (p = 0.83) interaction. The HAMD-7 test was brief to administer (e.g., 3-4 min for 85% of the primary care physicians evaluated), which facilitated the efficient and structured evaluation of salient depressive symptoms. Interpretation: The abbreviated HAMD-7 depression scale is equivalent to the HAMD-17 in assessing remission in patients with a major depressive disorder undergoing drug therapy. 1327-1331

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1331
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 22 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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