HAM-A: Hamilton Anxiety Scale

Developed by Dr. Max Hamilton, 1959


  • Length/Time: 14 items, 10-15 minutes to administer and score
  • Developed by: Max Hamilton, 1959
  • Target Population: Children, adolescents, and adults
  • Intended Settings: Clinical and research
  • Assesses: The severity of anxiety symptoms
  • Administered by: Patient Interview


  • The reliability and the concurrent validity of the HAM-A and its sub-scales proved to be sufficient (Maier, et al, 1988)
  • The most widely used semi-structured assessment scale in treatment outcome studies of anxiety (Bruss, et al, 1994)


  • A test that measures overall anxiety, psychic anxiety, and somatic anxiety. It is also known as the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS)


  • Shows a satisfactory degree of consistency (Beneke, 1987)


  • Anxiolytic and antidepressant effects cannot be clearly distinguished (Maier, et al, 1988)
  • Unsuitable for differential diagnosis...has relatively poor resolution (Beneke, 1987)
  • Poor ability to discriminate between anxiolytic and antidepressant effects

View References

Beneke M. Methodological investigations of the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. Pharmacopsychiatry. 1987; 20:249-55.

Bruss G, Guenberg A, Goldstein R, Barber J. Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale Interview guide: joint interview and test-retest methods for interrater reliability. Psychiatry Res. 1994; 53:191-202.

Maier W, Philipp M, Heuser, I. The Hamilton Anxiety Scale: reliability, validity and sensitivity to change in anxiety and depressive disorders. J Affect Disord. 1988; 14:61-8.