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Psychological Assessment - Vol 28, Iss 2

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Psychological Assessment Psychological Assessment publishes mainly empirical articles concerning clinical assessment. Papers that fall within the domain of the journal include research on the development, validation, application, and evaluation of psychological assessment instruments. Diverse modalities (e.g., cognitive, physiologic, and motoric) and methods of assessment (e.g., questionnaires, interviews, natural environment and analog environment observation, self-monitoring, participant observation, physiological measurement, instrument-assisted and computer-assisted assessment) are within the domain of the journal, especially as they relate to clinical assessment. Also included are topics on clinical judgment and decision making (including diagnostic assessment), methods of measurement of treatment process and outcome, and dimensions of individual differences (e.g., race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, economic status) as they relate to clinical assessment.
Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association
  • Identifying an appropriate measurement modeling approach for the Mini-Mental State Examination.
    The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is a 30-item, dichotomously scored test of general cognition. A number of benefits could be gained by modeling the MMSE in an item response theory (IRT) framework, as opposed to the currently used classical additive approach. However, the test, which is built from groups of items related to separate cognitive subdomains, may violate a key assumption of IRT: local item independence. This study aimed to identify the most appropriate measurement model for the MMSE: a unidimensional IRT model, a testlet response theory model, or a bifactor model. Local dependence analysis using nationally representative data showed a meaningful violation of the local item independence assumption, indicating multidimensionality. In addition, the testlet and bifactor models displayed superior fit indices over a unidimensional IRT model. Statistical comparisons showed that the bifactor model fit MMSE respondent data significantly better than the other models considered. These results suggest that application of a traditional unidimensional IRT model is inappropriate in this context. Instead, a bifactor model is suggested for future modeling of MMSE data as it more accurately represents the multidimensional nature of the scale. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Factor structure and validity of the State-Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety.
    The State-Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA; Ree, French, MacLeod, & Locke, 2008) is a relatively new measure of anxiety. The current research investigated the factor structure and reliability of scores on the STICSA and the validity of the interpretation of STICSA scores in a sample of undergraduate students. Participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires online, including measures of anxiety, depression, affect, and social desirability. Scores on the 4 subscales of the STICSA—Trait Cognitive, Trait Somatic, State Cognitive, and State Somatic—exhibited good internal consistencies (αs ≥ .92). Results of a confirmatory factor analysis provided support for a hierarchical model of the STICSA including a global anxiety factor plus 4 specific factors corresponding to the STICSA subscales. Support was also found for a four-factor model, with factors corresponding to the STICSA subscales. Pearson product-moment correlations with other measures of anxiety provided evidence of the convergent validity of the interpretation of STICSA scores, and Pearson product-moment correlations with measures of depression and affect provided evidence of the divergent validity of the interpretation of STICSA scores. The STICSA is the only existing self-report anxiety measure that contains scales measuring state and trait anxiety as well as cognitive and somatic anxiety. Comparisons between the convergent and divergent validity of test score interpretations of the STICSA and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger et al., 1983) revealed that the STICSA has better convergent validity with measures of somatic anxiety and better divergent validity with measures of depression and affect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A Brief Strengths Scale for individuals with mental health issues.
    Using their strengths and virtues enables individuals to build resilience and alleviate mental health issues. However, most existing instruments for measuring strengths are too lengthy to provide effective assessment for clinical screening. A brief instrument with good factorial and ecological validity is needed to measure strengths, especially among individuals with mental health issues. In this study, the authors developed a brief inventory, the Brief Strengths Scale-12 (BSS-12), to assess 3 strengths: Temperance Strength, Intellectual Strength, and Interpersonal Strength. Two studies were conducted. Study 1 was conducted in Hong Kong. Service recipients (n = 149) from a psychiatric rehabilitation organization were recruited to establish the factor structure and construct validity of the BSS-12. In Study 2, 203 university undergraduates from mainland China were recruited to examine the factorial invariance of the BSS-12 in a different culture and population. Each factor demonstrated satisfactory internal consistency, content validity, and discriminant validity. The BSS-12 may be a useful tool for assessing strengths in clinical and nonclinical settings for service planning and the evaluation of intervention effectiveness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Measuring implicit attitudes: A positive framing bias flaw in the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP).
    How can implicit attitudes best be measured? The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), unlike the Implicit Association Test (IAT), claims to measure absolute, not just relative, implicit attitudes. In the IRAP, participants make congruent (Fat Person-Active: false; Fat Person-Unhealthy: true) or incongruent (Fat Person-Active: true; Fat Person-Unhealthy: false) responses in different blocks of trials. IRAP experiments have reported positive or neutral implicit attitudes (e.g., neutral attitudes toward fat people) in cases in which negative attitudes are normally found on explicit or other implicit measures. It was hypothesized that these results might reflect a positive framing bias (PFB) that occurs when participants complete the IRAP. Implicit attitudes toward categories with varying prior associations (nonwords, social systems, flowers and insects, thin and fat people) were measured. Three conditions (standard, positive framing, and negative framing) were used to measure whether framing influenced estimates of implicit attitudes. It was found that IRAP scores were influenced by how the task was framed to the participants, that the framing effect was modulated by the strength of prior stimulus associations, and that a default PFB led to an overestimation of positive implicit attitudes when measured by the IRAP. Overall, the findings question the validity of the IRAP as a tool for the measurement of absolute implicit attitudes. A new tool (Simple Implicit Procedure:SIP) for measuring absolute, not just relative, implicit attitudes is proposed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Multifractal temporal correlations in circle-tracing behaviors are associated with the executive function of rule-switching assessed by the Trail Making Test.
    Rule switching is 1 among a diverse set of executive functions whose delicate interactions allows us to coordinate behavior appropriately to changing contexts and demands. Clinical assessments such as the Trail Making Test (TMT) estimate flexibility of rule switching, but such assessments can be challenging to interpret. TMT scores are sums of many choice response times (RTs): More time spent reflects not simply manual motor speed and visual scanning but also fluctuation of attention to sequence and less flexible switching among rules to reject many inappropriate targets and instead select the single next appropriate target. A growing consensus recognizes that the aggregate of many choice RTs reflect multiplicative interaction of factors across multiple scales, among which manual motor speed, counting up sequence, and rule-switching are just a few. Multiplicative interactions entail first, fractal temporal correlations and, more importantly, variability of fractality within the same series, that is, “multifractality,” The authors analyzed circle-tracing data to test whether tracing variance, degree of fractal temporal correlations, and multifractality correlate with TMT scores. Despite the absence of effects of variance, stronger temporal correlations indicated poorer Trails B performance, but multifractality moderated this relationship. These results suggest potential markers for predicting rule-switching ability from motor behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The sweet spot of clinical intuitions: Predictors of the effects of context on impressions of conduct disorder symptoms.
    How people interpret a mental disorder symptom has been shown to depend on the contextual life factors surrounding its presentation. Specifically, people are more likely to judge a symptom as clinically relevant if that symptom presents in a high-risk environment (e.g., child associates with deviant peers) relative to a low-risk environment (e.g., child associates with normative peer group). Importantly, not all symptoms are influenced by context to the same extent, and there is low agreement across people as to how this influence manifests. In this paper, we explore what factors predict the extent to which clinicians and laypeople interpret mental disorder symptoms as a function of diagnosis-congruent versus incongruent contextual information. We tested the impact of 2 statistical factors (prevalence and diagnosticity) and 2 more intuitive factors (diagnostic importance and abnormality) on the degree to which a symptom is interpreted differently in different contexts. Clinicians’ impressions of the diagnosticity and importance of a symptom evidenced a curvilinear relationship with the use of context, with extremely important and unimportant as well as extremely diagnostic and nondiagnostic symptoms being less influenced by context. Laypeople showed a similar curvilinear relation between diagnosticity judgments and context effects. Additionally, clinicians showed a linear relationship between abnormality judgments and context use, with extremely abnormal symptoms being influenced less by context, whereas laypeople showed a curvilinear relationship between symptom abnormality and context use, with extremely abnormal and normal symptoms being influenced the most by context. We discuss implications of these findings for clinical diagnosis. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Evaluation of internal validity using modern test theory: Application to word association.
    Word association tests (WATs) have been widely used to examine associative/semantic memory structures and shown to be relevant to behavior and its underpinnings. Despite successful applications of WATs in diverse research areas, few studies have examined psychometric properties of these tests or other open-ended cognitive tests of common use. Modern test theory models, such as item response theory (IRT) models, are well suited to evaluate interpretations of this class of test. In this evaluation, unidimensional IRT models were fitted to the data on the WAT designed to capture associative memory relevant to an important applied issue: casual sex in a sample of 1,138 adult drug offenders. Using association instructions, participants were instructed to generate the first behavior or action that came to mind in response to cues (e.g., “hotel/motel”) that might elicit casual sex-related responses. Results indicate a multitude of evidence for the internal validity of WAT score interpretations. All WAT items measured a single latent trait of casual sex-related associative memory, strongly related to the latent trait, and were invariant across gender, ethnicity, age groups, and sex partner profiles. The WAT was highly informative at average-to-high levels of the latent trait and also associated with risky sex behavior, demonstrating the usefulness of this class of test. The study illustrates the utility of the assessments in this at-risk population as well as the benefits of application of the modern test theory models in the evaluation of internal validity of open-ended cognitive test score interpretation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Assessing cognitive therapy skills comprehension, acquisition, and use by means of an independent observer version of the Skills of Cognitive Therapy (SoCT-IO).
    The purposes of this study were (a) to describe the adaptation and psychometric properties of the Skills for Cognitive Therapy (SoCT) measure for use by an independent observer (SoCT-IO) who rates the cognitive therapy (CT) skill acquisition, comprehension, and use by depressed adults and (b) to compare ratings of CT skill comprehension, acquisition, and use by independent observers to those by patients and therapists. Like the other SoCT versions, the SoCT-IO consists of 8 items that assess patients’ comprehension, acquisition, and use of cognitive and behavioral skills for managing depressive symptoms, using a 5-point Likert-type scale. Four experienced raters (2 doctoral-level CT therapists and 2 bachelor-level nontherapists) used the SoCT-IO to rate 80 CT videotapes from both mid and later sessions in acute-phase CT from a randomized controlled trial for outpatients with recurrent major depression. The SoCT-IO ratings showed excellent internal consistency reliability and moderately high interrater reliability. Concurrent validity was demonstrated by convergence of the SoCT-IO with 2 other versions of the SoCT, 1 completed by therapists (SoCT-O) and the other by patients (SoCT-P). SoCT-IO ratings evidenced good predictive validity: Independent observers’ ratings of patient CT skills midphase in therapy predicted treatment response even when the predictive effects of SoCT ratings by therapists and patients were controlled. The SoCT-IO is a psychometrically sound measure of CT skill comprehension, acquisition and use for rating outpatients with recurrent depression. The clinical utility and implications for using the SoCT-IO as a measure of CT skills acquisition are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Parent and teacher ratings of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms: Factor structure and normative data.
    Comprehensive assessment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms includes parent and teacher questionnaires. The ADHD Rating Scale–5 was developed to incorporate changes for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This study examined the fit of a correlated, 2-factor structure of ADHD (i.e., DSM–5 conceptual model) and alternative models; determined whether ADHD symptom ratings varied across teacher and child demographic characteristics; and presented normative data. Two samples were included: (a) 2,079 parents and guardians (1,131 female, 948 male) completed ADHD symptom ratings for children (N = 2,079; 1,037 males, 1,042 females) between 5 and 17 years old (M = 10.68; SD = 3.75) and (b) 1,070 teachers (766 female, 304 male) completed ADHD symptom ratings for students (N = 2,140; 1,070 males, 1,070 females) between 5 and 17 years old (M = 11.53; SD = 3.54) who attended kindergarten through 12th grade. The 2-factor structure was confirmed for both parent and teacher ratings and was invariant across child gender, age, informant, informant gender, and language. In general, boys were higher in symptom frequency than girls; older children were rated lower than younger children, especially for hyperactivity–impulsivity; and non-Hispanic children were rated higher than Hispanic children. Teachers also rated non-Hispanic African American children higher than non-Hispanic White, Asian, and Hispanic children. Non-Hispanic White teachers provided lower hyperactivity–impulsivity ratings than non-Hispanic, African American, and Hispanic teachers. Normative data are reported separately for parent and teacher ratings by child gender and age. The merits of using the ADHD Rating Scale–5 in a multimodal assessment protocol are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A developmental examination of the psychometric properties and predictive utility of a revised psychological self-concept measure for preschool-age children.
    Accurate assessment of psychological self-concept in early childhood relies on the development of psychometrically sound instruments. From a developmental perspective, the current study revised an existing measure of young children’s psychological self-concepts, the Child Self-View Questionnaire (CSVQ; Eder, 1990), and examined its psychometric properties using a sample of preschool-age children assessed at approximately 4 years old with a follow-up at age 5 (N = 111). The item compositions of lower order dimensions were revised, leading to improved internal consistency. Factor analysis revealed 3 latent psychological self-concept factors (i.e., sociability, control, and assurance) from the lower order dimensions. Measurement invariance by gender was supported for sociability and assurance, not for control. Test–retest reliability was supported by stability of the psychological self-concept measurement model during the preschool years, although some evidence of increasing differentiation was obtained. Validity of children’s scores on the 3 latent psychological self-concept factors was tested by investigating their concurrent associations with teacher-reported behavioral adjustment on the Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation Scale—Short Form (SCBE-SF; LaFreniere & Dumas, 1996). Children who perceived themselves as higher in sociability at 5 years old displayed less internalizing behavior and more social competence; boys who perceived themselves as higher in control at age 4 exhibited lower externalizing behavior; children higher in assurance had greater social competence at age 4, but displayed more externalizing behavior at age 5. Implications relevant to the utility of the revised psychological self-concept measure are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A cross-national analysis of measurement invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale.
    Measurement invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) was examined in probability samples of adults 50–79 years of age living in the United States, England, and Japan. Confirmatory factor analysis modeling was used to test for multigroup measurement invariance of a single-factor structure of the SWLS. Results support a single-factor structure of the SWLS across the 3 countries, with tests of measurement invariance of the SWLS supporting its configural invariance and metric invariance. These results suggest that the SWLS may be used as a single-factor measure of life satisfaction in the United States, England, and Japan, and that it is appropriate to compare correlates of the SWLS in middle-aged and older adults across these 3 countries. However, results provided evidence for only partial scalar invariance, with the intercept for SWLS Item 4 varying across countries. Cross-national comparisons of means revealed a lower mean at the latent variable level for the Japanese sample than for the other 2 samples. In addition, over and above the latent mean difference, the Japanese sample also manifested a significantly lower intercept on Item 4. Implications of the findings for research on cross-national comparisons of life satisfaction in European American and East Asian countries are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • “The Intolerance of Uncertainty Index: Replication and Extension With an English Sample”: Correction to Carleton, Gosselin, and Asmundson (2010).
    Reports an error in "The Intolerance of Uncertainty Index: Replication and extension with an English sample" by R. Nicholas Carleton, Patrick Gosselin and Gordon J. G. Asmundson (Psychological Assessment, 2010[Jun], Vol 22[2], 396-406). In the article, the Factor loading of the First sample in Table 2 should have begun with Item 2 and the final value in that table should not exist. Factor 1 should be associated with Items 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 17, 21, and 30; Factor 2 should be associated with Items 3, 14, 19, 23, and 29; and Factor 3 should be associated with Items 4, 10, 18, 24, and 27. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2010-10892-019.) Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is related to anxiety, depression, worry, and anxiety sensitivity. Precedent IU measures were criticized for psychometric instability and redundancy; alternative measures include the novel 45-item measure (Intolerance of Uncertainty Index; IUI). The IUI was developed in French with 2 parts, assessing general unacceptability of uncertainty (15 items, Part A) and manifestations of uncertainty approximating more common anxiety disorder symptoms (30 items, Part B). The psychometric stability of the back-translated English items of the IUI as well as the incremental variance of Parts A and B remain to be assessed. The current study involved 2 samples of English-speaking community participants (n = 437 and n = 309; 73% women and 27% men) who completed the IUI and several related measures. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses suggested a refinement of IUI items as well as a unitary structure for Part A and a 3-factor structure for Part B. Regression results suggested Parts A and B each provide incremental validity in measures of worry, generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, negative problem orientation, and depression. Comprehensive results, implications, and future research directions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and executive functioning in emerging adults.
    The current study examined attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety symptoms in relation to self-reported executive functioning deficits in emerging adults. College students (N = 421; ages 17–25; 73.1% female) completed self-reports of ADHD, anxiety, and executive functioning in a laboratory setting. Structural equation modeling analyses revealed that self-reported executive functioning deficits were significantly related to all 3 symptom domains. Executive functioning deficits were most strongly related to inattention followed by hyperactivity/impulsivity and anxiety. Analyses based on clinical groups revealed that groups with ADHD and comorbid anxiety showed greater deficits on self-regulation of emotion and self-organization/problem solving than those with ADHD only or anxiety only. Groups with ADHD showed greater deficits with self-motivation and self-restraint than those with anxiety only. All clinical groups differed from a control group on executive functioning deficits. Overall, anxiety symptoms appear to be associated with college students’ self-reported executive functioning deficits above and beyond relationships with ADHD symptomatology. Further, those with ADHD and anxiety appear to show increased difficulties with self-regulation of emotion and self-organization/problem solving, a domain which appears to overlap substantially with working memory. Future studies should seek to replicate our findings with a clinical population, utilize both report-based and laboratory task measures of executive functioning, and integrate both state and trait anxiety indices into study designs. Finally, future studies should seek to determine how executive functioning deficits can be best ameliorated in emerging adults with ADHD and anxiety. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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