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J Affect Disord. 2013 Sep 25;150(3):1008-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.05.031. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Reference values for anxiety questionnaires: the Leiden Routine Outcome Monitoring Study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.



The monitoring of patients with an anxiety disorder can benefit from Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM). As anxiety disorders differ in phenomenology, several anxiety questionnaires are included in ROM: Brief Scale for Anxiety (BSA), PADUA Inventory Revised (PI-R), Panic Appraisal Inventory (PAI), Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ), Worry Domains Questionnaire (WDQ), Social Interaction, Anxiety Scale (SIAS), Social Phobia Scale (SPS), and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). We aimed to generate reference values for both 'healthy' and 'clinically anxious' populations for these anxiety questionnaires.


We included 1295 subjects from the general population (ROM reference-group) and 5066 psychiatric outpatients diagnosed with a specific anxiety disorder (ROM patient-group). The MINI was used as diagnostic device in both the ROM reference group and the ROM patient group. To define limits for one-sided reference intervals (95th percentile; P95) the outermost 5% of observations were used. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) analyses were used to yield alternative cut-off values for the anxiety questionnaires.


For the ROM reference-group the mean age was 40.3 years (SD=12.6), and for the ROM patient-group it was 36.5 years (SD=11.9). Females constituted 62.8% of the reference-group and 64.4% of the patient-group. P95 ROM reference group cut-off values for reference versus clinically anxious populations were 11 for the BSA, 43 for the PI-R, 37 for the PAI Anticipated Panic, 47 for the PAI Perceived Consequences, 65 for the PAI Perceived Self-efficacy, 66 for the PSWQ, 74 for the WDQ, 32 for the SIAS, 19 for the SPS, and 36 for IES-R. ROC analyses yielded slightly lower reference values. The discriminative power of all eight anxiety questionnaires was very high.


Substantial non-response and limited generalizability.


For eight anxiety questionnaires a comprehensive set of reference values was provided. Reference values were generally higher in women than in men, implying the use of gender-specific cut-off values. Each instrument can be offered to every patient with MAS disorders to make responsible decisions about continuing, changing or terminating therapy.


Anxiety; Anxiety disorders; Instruments; Questionnaires; Reference values; Routine Outcome Monitoring

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