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

Marleen L.M. Hermens, Herman J. Adèr, Hein P.J. van Hout*, Berend Terluin, Richard van Dyck, Marten de Haan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The Montgomery Åsberg 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. Methods: 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 different interviewer. The validity of the telephone rating was calculated through the appropriate intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Results: 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. Conclusion: The full MADRS, including the observation item 'apparent sadness', can be administered reliably by telephone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalAnnals of General Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2006

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