Effectiveness of HAM-D17 and HAM-D6 for Evaluating Depressive Disorders

The 17-item HAM-D17 and the 6-item HAM-D6 had inverse but considerable correlations at baseline with quality of life scales.

The 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17) and the 6-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D6) had inverse but considerable correlations at baseline with quality of life scales (SF-36 and WHOQOL-BREF) according to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

The analysis included 237 patients from an outpatient clinic for mood disorders who had a mean age of 40.2 years ± 11.7. The São Pedro Psychiatric Hospital Research Ethics Committee approved the study, and all participants gave informed consent.

DSM-IV criteria revealed that only 58 participants (24.5%) had mixed major depressive disorder (MDD), and 73 individuals (30.8%) were diagnosed with bipolar depression. Bipolar depression with mixed features was found in 106 participants (44.7%). Of these 106 patients with mixed features, 43 met the Cincinnati criteria and 63 met the DSM-IV criteria.

The HAM-D6 scale had similar results when evaluating participants with MDD, moderately similar when evaluating individuals with bipolar depression and weak correlation when assessing patients with bipolar depression with mixed features. The only group who obtain homogeneity according to the HAM-D17 scale was MDD. Both the HAM-D17 and the HAM-D6 had inverse, significant correlations at baseline with SF-36 and WHOQOL-BREF scores.

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Researchers conclude that the HAM-D6 can be used to assess the severity of depression, can be applied faster than the HAM-D17, and may be a more informative diagnostic tool than the HAM-D17.


da Silva AK, Mateus R, da Silva-Lima AF, de Almeida Fleck MP, Cappa E, Shansis FM Assessment of the psychometric properties of the 17- and 6-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scales in major depressive disorder, bipolar depression and bipolar depression with mixed features [published online July 21, 2018]. J Psychiatric Res. doi: 10.1016/jpsychires.2018.7.009