Ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) for elastic response spectra are typically developed at a 5% viscous damping ratio. In reality, however, structural and nonstructural systems can have other damping ratios. This paper develops a new model for a damping scaling factor (DSF) that can be used to adjust the 5% damped spectral ordinates predicted by a GMPE for damping ratios between 0.5% to 30%. The model is developed based on empirical data from worldwide shallow crustal earthquakes in active tectonic regions. Dependencies of the DSF on potential predictor variables, such as the damping ratio, spectral period, ground motion duration, moment magnitude, source-to-site distance, and site conditions, are examined. The strong influence of duration is captured by the inclusion of both magnitude and distance in the DSF model. Site conditions show weak influence on the DSF. The proposed damping scaling model provides functional forms for the median and logarithmic standard deviation of DSF, and is developed for both RotD50 and GMRotI50 horizontal components. A follow-up paper develops a DSF model for vertical ground motion.