Translating the BDI and BDI-II into the HAMD and vice versa with equipercentile linking

Toshi A. Furukawa*, Mirjam Reijnders, Sanae Kishimoto, Masatsugu Sakata, Robert J. Derubeis, Sona Dimidjian, David J.A. Dozois, Ulrich Hegerl, Steven D. Hollon, Robin B. Jarrett, François Lespérance, Zindel V. Segal, David C. Mohr, Anne D. Simons, Lena C. Quilty, Charles F. Reynolds, Claudio Gentili, Stefan Leucht, Rolf R. Engel, Pim Cuijpers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


AimsThe Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) are the most frequently used observer-rated and self-report scales of depression, respectively. It is important to know what a given total score or a change score from baseline on one scale means in relation to the other scale.MethodsWe obtained individual participant data from the randomised controlled trials of psychological and pharmacological treatments for major depressive disorders. We then identified corresponding scores of the HAMD and the BDI (369 patients from seven trials) or the BDI-II (683 patients from another seven trials) using the equipercentile linking method.ResultsThe HAMD total scores of 10, 20 and 30 corresponded approximately with the BDI scores of 10, 27 and 42 or with the BDI-II scores of 13, 32 and 50. The HAMD change scores of -20 and -10 with the BDI of -29 and -15 and with the BDI-II of -35 and -16.ConclusionsThe results can help clinicians interpret the HAMD or BDI scores of their patients in a more versatile manner and also help clinicians and researchers evaluate such scores reported in the literature or the database, when scores on only one of these scales are provided. We present a conversion table for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Early online date14 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


Financial support. This study was supported in part by a grant-in-aid from Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) to TAF (grant number 18dk0307072). The funder had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development18dk0307072


    • Assessment
    • Beck Depression Inventory
    • depressive disorder
    • Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression
    • rating instrument


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