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Abstract We explored the reliability and validity of Kasahara's scale of melancholic type of personality (KMT) in a German sample population. Subjects comprised 66 patients diagnosed with an affective disorder (F3, ICD-10) and 94 controls. Concerning reliability, KMT scores showed internal consistency with Cronbach's alpha coefficients of 0.65 for patients and 0.67 for controls. The KMT items, except for number 13 in controls, showed significant item–total correlations. In a test–retest procedure, the KMT total score and individual item scores were statistically similar and correlated. These results indicate reliability of the KMT. Concerning validity, KMT scores were significantly higher in patients than in controls. By controlling the effects of age and sex, partial correlation coefficients in a comparison of KMT and Zerssen's F-List (F-List) scores were 0.40 in patients and 0.53 in controls. These results show both the constructive and concurrent validity of the KMT. Sufficient reliability and validity of the KMT were shown in this German sample population to encourage cross-cultural investigation of Typus melancholicus.