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J Abnorm Psychol. 2007 Aug;116(3):464-74.

Examining a dimensional representation of depression and anxiety disorders' comorbidity in psychiatric outpatients with item response modeling.

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Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University.


The current study replicated, in a sample of 2,300 outpatients seeking psychiatric treatment, a previous study (R. F. Krueger & M. S. Finger, 2001) that implemented an item response theory approach for modeling the comorbidity of common mood and anxiety disorders as indicators along the continuum of a shared latent factor (internalizing). The 5 disorders examined were major depressive disorder, social phobia, panic disorder/agoraphobia, specific phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder. The findings were consistent with the prior research. First, a confirmatory factor analysis yielded sufficient evidence for a nonspecific factor underlying the 5 diagnostic indicators. Second, a 2-parameter logistic item response model showed that the diagnoses were represented in the upper half of the internalizing continuum, and each was a strongly discriminating indicator of the factor. Third, the internalizing factor was significantly associated with 3 indexes of social burden: poorer social functioning, time missed from work, and lifetime hospitalizations. Rather than the categorical system of presumably discrete disorders presented in DSM-IV, these 5 mood and anxiety disorders may be alternatively viewed as higher end indicators of a common factor associated with social cost.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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