Screening for psychological distress using the Patient Health Questionnaire Anxiety and Depression Scale (PHQ-ADS): Initial validation of structural validity in dialysis patients

Joseph Chilcot, Joanna L Hudson, Rona Moss-Morris, Amy Carroll, David Game, Anna Simpson, Matthew Hotopf
General Hospital Psychiatry 2018, 50: 15-19

OBJECTIVE: To validate the factor structure of the Patient Health Questionnaire Anxiety and Depression Scale (PHQ-ADS)- which is a composite measure of depression and anxiety using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), in a sample of haemodialysis patients.

METHOD: Screening data (n=182) used to select entry into a feasibility study of an online cognitive-behavioural therapy intervention for distress in dialysis patients were analysed here. Structural validity of the PHQ-ADS was evaluated using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), assessing alternative models including a bi-factor model. In the bi-factor model all items from the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 (16-items in total) were loaded onto a general distress factor. Respective items of the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 were specified as subgroup factors. Omega-hierarchical was calculated to indicate the level of saturation of a multidimensional scale by a general factor. Construct validity was determined against the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire.

RESULTS: A bi-factor PHQ-ADS model had good fit to the data (chi-square=96.1, p=0.26, CFI=0.99; TLI=0.99; RMSEA=0.02). The general distress factor accounted for approximately 84% of the explained variance (omega-h=0.90). Distress scores were significantly higher in females compare with males. There was a significant association between distress and negative illness perceptions (r=0.58, p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: The PHQ-ADS appears to have good structural validity in haemodialysis patients and is sufficiently unidimensional to warrant the use of a total distress score. A full psychometric analysis of the PHQ-ADS in a larger sample of dialysis patients is warranted.

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