First Advisor

Barbara J. Stewart

Term of Graduation

Summer 1981

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Mental depression -- Testing



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, v, 75 pages)


The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRS), a 17-item observer-rated scale, was first developed in 1960 to assess the severity of depressive symptomatology in patients diagnosed as suffering from depression. The HRS has since demonstrated high inter-rater reliability (with coefficients ranging from .87 to .94), and has proven useful in measuring changes of severity following treatment.

Since its development, the HRS has been the focus of several factor analytic investigations, four of which attempted to assess the instrument for factorial invariance. Factorial invariance refers to the generalizability or applicability of dimensions developed from one sample to another. While some consensus had been achieved on two factors, one a bipolar factor (i.e., with both positive and negative loadings) contrasting agitation and retardation, the other a general factor with loadings on several of the HRS items, little agreement had been attained on subsequent factors. Three problem areas were identified which may have contributed to the disparate results.

First, inadequate sample size may restrict the range and distort the correlation coefficients, and hence, the factor analysis itself. Second, the clinical dimensions of depression have been shown to vary with treatment setting. Third, variations in the mathematical procedures may influence the outcome of a given factor analysis.


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