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Psychother Psychosom. 2000;69(1):35-41.

Development of a brief screening instrument: the HANDS.

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Massachusetts General Hospital-East, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.



The present study was designed to develop a briefer screening scale of approximately 10 items which maintained the validity of the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale in a sample similar to that attending National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), as well as a more general audience.


We first administered 70 items from a variety of existing rating scales to 40 subjects who answered an ad for depressed subjects and 55 who answered an ad for non-depressed subjects, all of whose diagnoses were confirmed by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). Based on the correlation between each item and the diagnostic criterion, we reduced the number of items to 17 which we then administered to another 45 subjects who answered an ad similar to that used for NDSD and also underwent a SCID interview. Based on these results, we arrived at the final 10-item Harvard Department of Psychiatry/NDSD scale (HANDS) with the assistance of the item-response theory. The items are scored for frequency of occurrence of each symptom over the past 2 weeks. Total scores range from 0 to 30.


The 10-item scale (HANDS) has good internal consistency and validity: a cutpoint score of 9 or greater gave sensitivity of at least 95% in both studies. Although specificity was lower for all scales in the self-selected population, the HANDS performed at least as well as the 20-item Zung Scale, the 21-item Beck Depression Inventory-II and the 15-item Hopkins Symptom Depression Checklist.


The 10-item HANDS performs as well as other widely used longer self-report scales and has the advantage of briefer administration time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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