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J Affect Disord. 2010 Nov;126(3):335-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.01.067. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

Diagnostic validity of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) in cancer and palliative settings: a meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Cancer and Molecular Medicine, Leicester Royal Infirmary, University of Leicester LE1 5WW, United Kingdom. alex.mitchell@leicspart.nhs.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the validity of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) in the identification of psychiatric complications of cancer, as defined by a robust criterion standard.

METHODS:

50 analyses tested the depression subscale (HADS-D), anxiety subscale (HADS-A) or combined scales (HADS-T) against syndromal (clinical) depression (n=22), syndromal anxiety (n=4) or any mental ill health/distress (n=24), all defined by semi-structured psychiatric interview.

RESULTS:

The HADS and its subscales had both strengths and limitations. Overall it appeared to perform marginally better in non-palliative cancer settings. Specific findings for each subscale were as follows. In the identification of depression the HADS-T, HADS-D and HADS-A had a pooled sensitivity and specificity of 82.0%, 77.0%; 71.6%, 82.6% and 80.5%, 77.8%, respectively. All versions performed poorly in case-finding but well in a screening capacity. For anxiety there were no HADS-D studies. The HADS-T and HADS-A had a pooled sensitivity and specificity of 83.9%, 69.9% and 48.7%, 78.7%. They were poor at case-finding but good as screening instruments. For distress (any mental ill health) the HADS-T, HADS-D and HADS-A had a pooled sensitivity and specificity of 72.8%, 80.6%; 75.7%, 66.3% and 65.7%, 71.3%, respectively. When screening for distress and anxiety the HADS-T was the optimal subscale.

CONCLUSION:

For the identification of depression, anxiety or distress in cancer settings, the HADS (including subscales) is not recommended as a case-finding instrument but it may, subject to concerns about its length, be a suitable addition to screening programme.

PMID:
20207007
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2010.01.067
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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