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We compared three self-rating scales (the Geriatric Depression Scale, the Zung Scale, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) with three examiner-rating scales (the Hamilton Rating Scale, the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale-Depression, and the Cornell Scale), to see which was best for 40 elderly (mean age 80 years) stroke patients, 17 of whom were depressed according to clinical examination. External validity and concurrent validity were good for all except the Cornell Scale. Reliability (internal consistency) showed that some items were not significantly correlated, which might be explained by our selection of the patients. The Geriatric Depression Scale, the Zung Scale, and the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale-Depression had the highest sensitivity, and the Zung Scale had the highest positive predictive value (93%). With regard to internal consistency, sensitivity, and predictive value, the best self-rating scales were the Geriatric Depression and the Zung scales and the best examiner-rating scale was the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale-Depression.