Validation of the Italian version of the Northoff Catatonia Rating Scale

Nicola Meda, Irene Recchia, Argentina Guaglianone, Daniele Olivo, Georg Northoff, Marco Solmi, Giorgio Pigato, Fabio Sambataro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. Catatonia is a psychomotor syndrome characterized by heterogeneous motor, behavioral and affective alterations, and, in some cases, neurovegetative abnormalities that can be life-threatening. Although the prevalence estimates of catatonia are 10-20% of the hospitalized population, its clinical recognition remains a challenge for most clinicians. Differently from other catatonia rating scales, the Northoff Catatonia Rating Scale (NCRS) also evaluates the affective alterations that patients experience during catatonia and thus provides a more inclusive assessment of the alterations associated with this condition. To provide clinicians with a valuable tool for diagnosis, we translated the NCRS in Italian and validated it on a sample of 52 hospitalized patients with psychiatric disorders. Methods. An Italian version of the NCRS was prepared using the forward-backwards translation from English and administered to a sample of 52 in-patients (age 46.9±2.37 years). The inter-rater reliability, score correlations, internal coherence and decision statistics were computed. Results. The inter-rater agreement was higher for the motor subscale (100% agreement) than for the behavioral (94%) or affective subscales (92.3%). The inter-rater agreement was 100% for the diagnosis of catatonia. The NCRS correctly identified all patients with catatonia according to DSM-5 (sensitivity= 100%) and had a specificity of 88.9%, and its subscale scores were highly inter-correlated. Conclusions. This validation shows that the NCRS yields a good accuracy in diagnosing catatonia and high inter-rater reliability. Moreover, the high correlation between its subscales supports the view that catatonia is a multi-faceted truly psycho-motor syndrome. In conclusion, the validation and Italian translation of the NCRS provides the clinicians with a helpful tool for diagnosing catatonia which is easy to use and assesses the full psychomotor complexity of the syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-290
Number of pages9
JournalRivista di Psichiatria
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Bush-Francis Catatonia Rating Scale
  • DSM-5
  • Northoff Catatonia Rating Scale
  • catatonia
  • schizophrenia
  • validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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