Objective: Although generalized anxiety is an important clinical problem among adolescents, there are no interview procedures to provide a global anxiety rating that have demonstrated reliability and validity for this population. The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS) is a general measure of anxiety that was developed for adults. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of the HARS when used with adolescents.
Method: The sample consisted of 257 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years from both clinical and community sources. The HARS interviews and ratings were conducted as part of an extensive psychiatric and medical assessment. Psychiatric diagnoses were determined by structured interview. Other questionnaire measures of anxiety were also obtained.
Results: The interrater reliability and internal consistency of the HARS were acceptable in this adolescent sample and were comparable to results reported for adults. The HARS exhibited good construct validity, showing statistically significant relationships with independent self-report measures of generalized anxiety and other anxiety variables. The factor structure of the HARS also was found to be similar to that found earlier with adults.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that the HARS is a reliable and valid measure for the assessment of global anxiety in the adolescent population.