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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Mar 22;5:3.

Administering the MADRS by telephone or face-to-face: a validity study.

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Department of General Practice, Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) is a frequently used observer-rated depression scale. In the present study, a telephonic rating was compared with a face-to-face rating in 66 primary care patients with minor or mild-major depression. The aim of the present study was to assess the validity of the administration by telephone. Additional objective was to study the validity of the first item, 'apparent sadness', the only item purely based on observation.


The present study was a validity study. During an in-person interview at the patient's home a trained interviewer administered the MADRS. A few days later the MADRS was administered again, but now by telephone and by a : Mean total score on the in-person administration was 24.0 (SD = 11.1), and on the telephone administration 23.5 (SD = 10.4). The ICC for the full scale was 0.65. Homogeneity analysis showed that the observation item 'apparent sadness' fitted well into the scale.


The full MADRS, including the observation item 'apparent sadness', can be administered reliably by telephone.

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