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Schizophr Res. 2006 Feb 28;82(2-3):213-23. Epub 2005 Oct 17.

Factor structure and external validity of the PANSS revisited.

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Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980126, Richmond VA 23298-0126, USA.


Considerable controversy exists concerning the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS), one of the most widely used instruments in schizophrenia research. In this article we revisited the factor structure and external validity of the PANSS in a sample of 500 participants with DSM IV diagnoses of schizophrenia. We found that a model with six latent factors provided a relatively good fit, considered adequate by two rules of thumb. Five factors corresponded closely to those typically derived in other studies: Negative, Positive, Excited/Activation, Anxious-Depressed/Dysphoric, and Disorganized/Autistic preoccupation. The sixth factor seemed to have face validity and was labeled Withdrawn. With the exception of Anxious-Depressed/Dysphoric, Cronbach's Alpha ranged from 0.70 to 0.85 suggesting an acceptable internal consistency. External validity was studied through correlations with socio-demographic variables, DSM IV (subtype) diagnoses, clinical characteristics, and drug use. The many significant correlations suggested that the six PANSS scales measure meaningful aspects of schizophrenia. Furthermore, the pattern of correlations varied, providing evidence that the scales assessed partly different aspects of the disease. Our analyses also suggested that some of the controversy about the PANSS can possibly be attributed to methodological factors where the substantial cross-loadings of some PANSS items may play an important role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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