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A dimensional approach to measuring anxiety for DSM-5


  • This article was generated as part of the DSM-5 Work Group activities.

  • Copyright © 2012 American Psychiatric Association

Richard LeBeau, Department of Psychology, University of California, 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.

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In preparation for DSM-5's planned inclusion of dimensional assessments of psychopathology as a complement to traditional categorical diagnoses, we developed brief self-rated scales for anxiety disorders that are consistent in content and structure. In the present paper, we discuss the creation of the scales and examine their psychometric properties and clinical sensitivity. Phase One assessed psychometric properties of the initial versions of the scales in a large non-clinical sample (n = 702). Phase Two assessed the psychometric properties of revised versions of the scales, including test–retest reliability, in a non-clinical sample (n = 57). Phase Three examined the scales' psychometric properties and relationship with clinician ratings of disorder severity in a clinical sample (n = 48). The scales demonstrated internal consistency (α = 0.85–0.92), convergent validity (rs = 0.39–0.69), and test–retest reliability in the non-clinical samples (ICC = 0.51–0.81). In the clinical sample, the scales demonstrated significantly higher total scores than in the non-clinical sample (Cohen's d = 0.72–1.50) and moderate to high correlations with clinician ratings of disorder severity (r = 0.43–0.82) Although further evaluation and refinement of the scales (particularly the specific phobia and agoraphobia scales) is needed, the results provide preliminary support for the use of these scales in DSM-5 and thus take an important step toward the integration of standardized dimensional measurement into the diagnosis of anxiety disorders. Copyright © 2012 American Psychiatric Association. All rights reserved.