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Psych_Assess_2007 - Psychological Assessment 2007 Vol 19 No...

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Efficiently Assessing Negative Cognition in Depression: An Item Response Theory Analysis of the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale Christopher G. Beevers University of Texas at Austin David R. Strong Brown University and Butler Hospital Bjo ¨rn Meyer City University, London Paul A. Pilkonis University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Ivan W. Miller Brown University and Butler Hospital Despite a central role for dysfunctional attitudes in cognitive theories of depression and the widespread use of the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale, form A (DAS-A; A. Weissman, 1979), the psychometric development of the DAS-A has been relatively limited. The authors used nonparametric item response theory methods to examine the DAS-A items and develop a briefer version of the scale. Using DAS-A data obtained from depressed participants enrolled in 2 large depression treatment studies ( N 367), the authors developed a 9-item DAS form (DAS-SF 1 ). In addition, because 2 versions of the DAS are needed for certain study designs, they also developed a 2nd short version (DAS-SF 2 ). These short forms were highly correlated with the original 40-item DAS-A ( r s ranged from .91 to .93), exhibited change similar to that of the DAS-A over the course of treatment, were moderately correlated with related self-report assessments, predicted concurrent depression severity, and predicted change in depression from before to after treatment. Taken together, the authors believe the DAS-SF 1 and DAS-SF 2 provide an efficient and accurate assessment of dysfunctional attitudes among depressed individuals. Keywords: cognitive, short form, depression, dysfunctional attitudes, item response theory A central tenet of cognitive theory of depression is that dys- functional attitudes have a critical etiologic role for vulnerability to depression (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979). Individuals who endorse dysfunctional attitudes are thought to be at increased risk for depression onset (e.g., Alloy et al., 2006; Segal, Gemar, & Williams, 1999). Further, elevations in dysfunctional attitudes are thought to maintain an episode and are often central targets of intervention during cognitive–behavioral treatment. Consistent with these ideas, numerous studies have observed high levels of dysfunctional attitudes among people diagnosed with unipolar depression (e.g., Dent & Teasdale, 1988; Norman, Miller, & Dow, 1988). Dysfunctional attitudes are often assessed with the Dysfunc- tional Attitude Scale (DAS; Weissman, 1979). The DAS was Christopher G. Beevers, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin; David R. Strong, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, and Addictions Research, Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island; Bjo ¨rn Meyer, Department of Psychology, City University, London, London, England; Paul A. Pilkonis, Department of Psychiatry, West- ern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; and Ivan W. Miller, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, and Psychosocial Research Program, Butler Hospital.
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