The Hamilton Anxiety Scale: reliability, validity and sensitivity to change in anxiety and depressive disorders

J Affect Disord. 1988 Jan-Feb;14(1):61-8. doi: 10.1016/0165-0327(88)90072-9.


The Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) was tested for reliability and validity in two different samples, one sample (n = 97) defined by anxiety disorders, the other sample (n = 101) defined by depressive disorders. The reliability and the concurrent validity of the HAM-A and its subscales proved to be sufficient. Internal validity tested by latent structure analysis was insufficient. The major problems with the HAM-A are that (1) anxiolytic and antidepressant effects cannot be clearly distinguished; (2) the subscale of somatic anxiety is strongly related to somatic side effects. The applicability of the HAM-A in anxiolytic treatment studies is therefore limited. More specific anxiety scales are needed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Agoraphobia / psychology
  • Alprazolam / therapeutic use
  • Amitriptyline / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Imipramine / therapeutic use
  • Panic
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Psychometrics
  • Random Allocation


  • Amitriptyline
  • Imipramine
  • Alprazolam