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May 1989

Rating Weight Loss on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry, M-003 School of Medicine University of California at San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(5):481-482. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810050095019

To the Editor.—  Williams1 provides an important contribution in her article in the August 1988 issue of the Archives examining the reliability of individual Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) items on a testretest interview. We wish to draw the readership's attention, however, to one potential problem in the validity of the weight loss rating in the version of the HDRS published with her article. In that version, weight loss was given a score of 3 on the weight loss item when the degree of weight loss was "not assessed." This method yielded the highest possible numerical score for the weight loss rating and likewise increased the total HDRS score in such cases where the information was missing. We suggest that choice No. 3 for this item be eliminated, so that the depression scale not be artificially inflated by default, in the instances where the degree of weight loss has

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