The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, a widely used clinical interview, assess
ment tool, lacks instructions for administration and clear anchor points fo
r. th assignment of severity, ratings. We developed a Structured Interview
Guide for the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (SIGH-A) and report on a study compari
ng this version to the traditional form of this scale. Experienced intervie
wers from three Anxiety Disorders research sites conducted videotaped inter
views using both traditional and structured instruments in 89 participants.
A subset of the tapes was co-rated by all raters. Participants completed s
elf-report symptom questionnaires. We observed high inter-rater and test-re
test reliability using both formats. The structured format produced similar
but consistently higher (+ 4.2) scores. Correlation with a self-report mea
sure of over-all anxiety was also high and virtually identical for the two
versions. We conclude that in settings where extensive training is not prac
tical, the structured scale is air acceptable alternative to the traditiona
l Hamilton Anxiety instrument.