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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 instrum

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Copyright: Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association

Assessment in health psychology: Introduction to the special issue.


For the past 27 years, Psychological Assessment has been committed to publishing empirical research relevant to clinical assessment of basic and applied cognition, personality, interpersonal behavior, psychopathology, forensics, and biological psychology. There is growing interest in the use of patient-centered outcomes in medical/surgical care and for measuring health care performance. Patient-centered outcome measures complement traditional clinical outcomes of morbidity and mortality, capturing the patient’s perspective regarding their health and its treatment. In this issue, we highlight 11 articles that address different aspects of such work. The articles in this special issue represent both the depth and breadth of the opportunities that exist for psychological assessment in the health setting. While there are countless patient-centered measures currently in use to measure health and health outcomes, the evidence base for their use can be quite variable (Butt, 2016). The hope is that future issues of Psychological Assessment will highlight more work in this area. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Multilevel factor analysis of smokers’ real-time negative affect ratings while quitting.


Smoking is a serious public health problem, and accurate real-time assessment of risk factors associated with smoking is critical to understanding smoking relapse. Negative affect is often described as a critical risk factor related to smoking relapse, and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods have been widely used to study real-time relations between negative affect and smoking. However, the factor structure of momentary negative affect ratings is unknown. The current investigation examined the multilevel factor structure and internal consistency of an EMA measure of negative affect. Daily assessments were collected for 1 week prequit and 3 weeks postquit from 113 adult daily smokers receiving nicotine replacement therapy and counseling to quit smoking. Results supported a 2-factor model with correlated but distinct agitation and distress factors, rather than a single-factor model of negative affect. The agitation factor was indicated by these items: impatient, tense/anxious, restless. The distress factor was indicated by these items: sad/depressed, upset, distressed. The 2-factor model had acceptable model fit and consistent factor loadings across 3 separate cessation phases: prequit, postquit with recent smoking, and postquit without recent smoking. The 2 factors were highly correlated, showed good internal consistency, and showed strong associations with theoretically relevant smoking and affect variables. Agitation was more strongly related to urge to smoke, and distress was more strongly related to recent stress. This study provides support for a 2-factor model of an EMA measure of negative affect and highlights distinct facets that may be useful for future investigations of affect and smoking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

A comparative evaluation of self-report and biological measures of cigarette use in nondaily smokers.


A large subset of individuals who smoke cigarettes do not smoke regularly, but the assessments used to collect data on cigarette consumption in nondaily smokers have not been rigorously evaluated. The current study examined several self-report and biomarker approaches to the assessment of cigarette use in a sample of nondaily smokers (n = 176). Participants were randomly assigned to a daily monitoring condition (n = 89), requiring a daily report of the number of cigarettes smoked in the previous 24 hours, or a no monitoring condition (n = 87). Number of cigarettes smoked over the first 28 days of the study was assessed using 2 quantity frequency measures, a graduated frequency measure, and a timeline follow back (TLFB) interview at the Session 5 study visit. Hair nicotine (NIC), hair cotinine (COT), and expired-air carbon monoxide (CO) were collected from each participant. Total cigarettes reported via daily report were strongly correlated with all Session 5 measures of total cigarettes, but were most strongly associated with TLFB total cigarettes. Collapsed CO across 5 sessions was the biomarker most strongly correlated with daily report total cigarettes. The results support the use of daily report and TLFB methods of assessing cigarette use in nondaily smokers. Results also support the use of CO as appropriate biological markers of exposure in nondaily smokers, and point to some limitations in the use of hair biomarkers in this population. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The Valued Living Questionnaire for Alcohol Use: Measuring value-behavior discrepancy in college student drinking.


Developing discrepancy between one’s values and behaviors is theoretically important in motivating change; however, existing studies lack a validated measure of value-behavior discrepancy for alcohol misuse. The current studies aimed to modify Wilson & DuFrene (2008) Valued Living Questionnaire (VLQ) to assess consistency of alcohol use with important values. In Study 1, the initial factor structure and test–retest reliability of the VLQ for Alcohol Use (VLQ-A) was tested in a sample of college students who regularly drink alcohol (N = 150). Results guided modifications to the measure. In Study 2, the revised measure’s factor structure and predictive validity were tested with a second sample of college students who drink alcohol (N = 222). In both studies, exploratory factor analysis supported a unidimensional factor structure. Perceived discrepancy between alcohol use and important values predicted greater readiness to change, while perceived consistency between alcohol use and important values predicted more frequent heavy episodic drinking. Certain values were more useful in predicting outcomes than others. Alcohol use (heavy vs. moderate drinking) did not moderate outcomes. The VLQ-A is a brief and reliable self-report measure of perceived discrepancy between drinking behaviors and important values that may increase readiness to change. Future research examining the generalizability of findings to various samples and the efficacy of the VLQ-A as a supplement to brief interventions is warranted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Item analysis of the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire in community treatment centers.


The present study extends the item-level psychometric information of the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire (LDQ; Raistrick et al., 1994) that has been purported to measure psychological dependence and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems–10th edition substance dependence criteria. Prior research on the LDQ has not established item-level properties or the degree of differential item functioning (DIF) by gender and substance type. Principal component and Mokken scale analyses were used to assess unidimensionality and monotonicity of the responses to the scale items, respectively. Graphical and statistical methods examined the model-data fit of the graded response model and two-parameter logistic model of LDQ responses (n = 1,681) obtained from 2 community treatment centers. DIF analysis was performed on gender (men = 1,313, women = 353) and substance (alcohol = 821, opiates = 528) groups. The 2PL achieved the best model-data fit. Three items provided little information about standing on the underlying construct, indicating that they are likely not good indicators of the “pure” psychological construct the LDQ aims to measure. Overall, the LDQ offers the greatest precision in quantifying psychological dependence in a clinical sample along the lower to mid ranges of this construct. Uniform DIF was present in Item 7 of the dichotomized responses by substance (alcohol vs. opiates). DIF by gender was not found in any of the LDQ items. Recommendations include revising the scaling and discussing the need to obtain LDQ data from different levels of care and primary identified substance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Psychometrics of shared decision making and communication as patient centered measures for two language groups.


Shared decision making (SDM) and effective patient−provider communication are key and interrelated elements of patient-centered care that impact health and behavioral health outcomes. Measurement of SDM and communication from the patient’s perspective is necessary in order to ensure that health care systems and individual providers are responsive to patient views. However, there is a void of research addressing the psychometric properties of these measures with diverse patients, including non-English speakers, and in the context of behavioral health encounters. This study evaluated the psychometric properties of 2 patient-centered outcome measures, the Shared Decision-Making Questionnaire−9 (SDM-Q) and the Kim Alliance Scale−Communication subscale (KAS-CM), in a sample of 239 English and Spanish-speaking behavioral health patients. One dominant factor was found for each scale and this structure was used to examine whether there was measurement invariance across the 2 language groups. One SDM-Q item was inconsistent with the configural invariance comparison and was removed. The remaining SDM-Q items exhibited strong invariance, meaning that item loadings and item means were similar across the 2 groups. The KAS-CM items had limited variability, with most respondents indicating high communication levels, and the invariance analysis was done on binary versions of the items. These had metric invariance (loadings the same over groups) but several items violated the strong invariance test. In both groups, the SDM-Q had high internal consistency, whereas the KAS-CM was only adequate. These findings help interpret results for individual patients, taking into account cultural and linguistic differences in how patients perceive SDM and patient-provider communication. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Development and psychometric evaluation of the Decisional Engagement Scale (DES-10): A patient-reported psychosocial survey for quality cancer care.


In light of recent health care reforms, we have provided an illustrative example of new opportunities available for psychologists to develop patient-reported measures related to health care quality. Patient engagement in health care decision making has been increasingly acknowledged as a vital component of quality cancer care. We developed the 10-item Decisional Engagement Scale (DES-10), a patient-reported measure of engagement in decision making in cancer care that assesses patients’ awareness of their diagnosis, sense of empowerment and involvement, and level of information seeking and planning. The National Institutes of Health’s ResearchMatch recruitment tool was used to facilitate Internet-mediated data collection from 376 patients with cancer. DES-10 scores demonstrated good internal consistency reliability (α = .80), and the hypothesized unidimensional factor structure fit the data well. The reliability and factor structure were supported across subgroups based on demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics. Higher DES-10 scores were associated with better health-related quality of life (r = .31). In concurrent validity analyses controlling for age, socioeconomic status, and health-related quality of life, higher DES-10 scores were associated with higher scores on quality-of-care indices, including greater awareness of one’s treatments, greater preferences for shared decision making, and clearer preferences about end-of-life care. A mini-measure, the DES-3, also performed well psychometrically. In conclusion, DES-10 and DES-3 scores showed evidence of reliability and validity, and these brief patient-reported measures can be used by researchers, clinicians, nonprofits, hospitals, insurers, and policymakers interested in evaluating and improving the quality of cancer care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Children’s Perioperative Multidimensional Anxiety Scale (CPMAS): Development and validation.


Up to 5 million children are affected by perioperative anxiety in North America each year. High perioperative anxiety is predictive of numerous adverse emotional and behavioral outcomes in youth. We developed the Children’s Perioperative Multidimensional Anxiety Scale (CPMAS) to address the need for a simple, age-appropriate self-report measure of pediatric perioperative anxiety in busy hospital settings. The CPMAS is a visual analog scale composed of 5 items, each of which is scored from 0–100. The objective of this study was to assess the psychometric properties of the CPMAS in children undergoing surgery. Eighty children aged 7 to 13 years who were undergoing elective surgery at a university-affiliated children’s hospital were recruited. Children self-completed the CPMAS and the Screen for Childhood Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED-C) at 3 time points: at preoperative assessment (T1), on the day of the operation (T2), and 1 month postoperatively (T3). Internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and the convergent validity of the CPMAS were assessed across all 3 visits. The CPMAS demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha ≥ .80) and stability (ICC = 0.71) across all 3 visits. CPMAS scores were moderately correlated with total SCARED-C scores (r values = .35 to .54, p values < .05 to .01) and SCARED-C state-related anxiety scores (r values = .29 to .71, p values < .05 to .01) at all 3 time points, suggesting the CPMAS and SCARED-C measures tap similar but not identical phenomena. These results suggest that the CPMAS has the potential to be a useful tool for evaluating perioperative anxiety in children undergoing surgery. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Concordance of parent-, teacher- and self-report ratings on the Conners 3 in adolescent survivors of cancer.


Survivors of childhood cancer are at risk for attention problems. The objectives of this study were to assess concordance between parent-, teacher-, and self-report ratings on a measure of attention (Conners Rating Scales, 3rd ed.; Conners, 2008) in adolescent survivors of childhood cancer and to examine associations with a performance-based task. The Conners 3 was completed by 80 survivors of pediatric cancer (39 brain tumor, 41 acute lymphoblastic leukemia; ages 12–17; at least 1 year posttreatment; 51.3% male) as well as their parents and 1 teacher. In addition, survivors completed a continuous performance test. Parents and teachers demonstrated moderate agreement on most subscales; however, agreement was weaker than would be expected based on the normative sample. Agreement between self- and proxy ratings was more variable. The strongest associations for all raters were observed on the Learning Problems subscale. There were significant mean differences between parent and teacher ratings, with parents reporting more problems across subscales. Only self-ratings of Inattention were significantly associated with the continuous performance test (omission errors). Agreement across raters in assessment of attentional functioning in adolescent survivors of childhood cancer is modest. Findings support the need to obtain multiple ratings of behavior, including both proxy- and self-report, when assessing youth with cancer, particularly adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Illness cognitions in later life: Development and validation of the Extended Illness Cognition Questionnaire (ICQ-Plus).


Illness cognitions are mediators between illness and well-being in patients with physical symptoms. The Illness Cognitions Questionnaire (ICQ) explores these illness cognitions but has not been validated in older persons. This study aimed to validate the ICQ in adults aged 60 years and above and to develop an extended version (ICQ-Plus) suitable for older persons. Qualitative interviews were conducted to explore illness cognitions in 21 older persons suffering physical symptoms. The items in the original ICQ and items of these interviews that potentially reflect dimensions not covered by the original ICQ were combined in the ICQ-Plus. Then the ICQ-Plus was completed by 220 older patients with physical symptoms, and its factor structure was explored by maximum-likelihood factor analyses. Analysis of covariance was performed to assess differences in illness cognitions between older persons suffering from medically explained symptoms (MES) and medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). The interviews generated 26 new items. Factor analysis confirmed the 3-factor structure of the original ICQ, including factors covering helplessness, disease benefits, and acceptance. In addition, exploratory factor analysis on the ICQ-Plus items revealed 4 additional factors, including cognitions referring to perseverance, illness anxiety, avoidance, and catastrophizing. Patients with MUS scored significantly lower than did patients with MES on acceptance and disease benefits and higher on helplessness and illness anxiety. We concluded that older patients with physical symptoms express illness cognitions that are relevant for treatment but are not covered by the ICQ and recommend that the extended ICQ-Plus be used in studies of older persons. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Examining the construct validity of affective judgments of physical activity measures.


Affective judgments of physical activity have emerged as important predictors of physical activity and interventions targeting affective judgments are a promising approach to improving regular physical activity. Currently, measures assessing a variety of potentially distinct constructs are treated as interchangeable assessments of affective judgments of physical activity. Moreover, little is known about the construct validity of the purported measures of this construct. We review several components of construct validity; highlighting their importance for health psychology research. Then, we examine the construct validity of a wide variety of affective judgment of physical activity measures in MTurk and student samples. Cronbach’s alpha for the included measures was uniformly high; however, several scales contained excessively redundant items that ultimately lessen their construct validity. Moreover, dependability estimates for the majority of measures was poor, indicating high levels of transient measurement error. The included measures significantly predicted levels of physical activity; however, their relative predictive power was strongly associated with their dependability. In general, the affective judgment measures demonstrated poor convergent validity suggesting they are not interchangeable and best viewed as assessing distinct, albeit related, constructs. Another important limitation of these measures is that they exhibited poor discriminant validity from exercise self-efficacy, which represents an important theoretical and empirical issue for the field of health behavior research. Overall, the current findings indicate the available affective judgments of physical activity measures are suboptimal, have considerable construct validity limitations, and thereby prevent the further advancement of science, theory, and intervention development in this promising area of research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

A review of psychological assessment instruments for use in bariatric surgery evaluations.


Bariatric surgery is a viable treatment option for patients with extreme obesity and associated medical comorbidities; however, optimal surgical outcomes are not universal. Surgical societies, such as the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), recommend that patients undergo a presurgical psychological evaluation that includes reviewing patients’ medical charts, conducting a comprehensive clinical interview, and employing some form of objective psychometric testing. Despite numerous societies recommending the inclusion of self-report assessments, only about 2/3 of clinics actively use psychological testing—some of which have limited empirical support to justify their use. This review aims to critically evaluate the psychometric properties of self-report measures when used in bariatric surgery settings and provide recommendations to help guide clinicians in selecting instruments to use in bariatric surgery evaluations. Recommended assessment batteries include use of a broadband instrument along with a narrowband eating measure. Suggestions for self-report measures to include in a presurgical psychological evaluation in bariatric surgery settings are also provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)