Rating scales measuring the severity of psychotic depression

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2015 Nov;132(5):335-44. doi: 10.1111/acps.12449. Epub 2015 May 27.


Objective: Unipolar psychotic depression (PD) is a severe and debilitating syndrome, which requires intensive monitoring. The objective of this study was to provide an overview of the rating scales used to assess illness severity in PD.

Method: Selective review of publications reporting results on non-self-rated, symptom-based rating scales utilized to measure symptom severity in PD. The clinical and psychometric validity of the identified rating scales was reviewed.

Results: A total of 14 rating scales meeting the predefined criteria were included in the review. These scales grouped into the following categories: (i) rating scales predominantly covering depressive symptoms, (ii) rating scales predominantly covering psychotic symptoms, (iii) rating scales covering delusions, and (iv) rating scales covering PD. For the vast majority of the scales, the clinical and psychometric validity had not been tested empirically. The only exception from this general tendency was the 11-item Psychotic Depression Assessment Scale (PDAS), which was developed specifically to assess the severity of PD.

Conclusion: In PD, the PDAS represents the only empirically derived rating scale for the measurement of overall severity of illness. The PDAS should be considered in future studies of PD and in clinical practice.

Keywords: affective disorders; depression; psychometrics; psychoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar and Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Severity of Illness Index*

Associated data

  • GENBANK/RR024153