Evaluation of the Ratings Comprising the Associated Symptom Criterion of DSM-III-R Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Abstract

In light of ongoing considerations for DSM-IV, the 18 ratings comprising the associated symptom criterion of DSM-III-R generalized anxiety disorder were evaluated. The interrater reliability and endorsement rates of each symptom were calculated from interview-based ratings of generalized anxiety disorder patients at four sites (total N=204). Interrater reliability analyses indicated high agreement for the majority of the 18 symptoms. Regarding the frequency of symptom endorsement, significant Spearman correlations (range=.69 to .94) revealed marked consistency in the rates of symptom endorsement across the four sites. A list of “satisfactory” symptoms was generated from those meeting certain reliability and endorsement criteria. Seven symptoms were identified: irritability, restlessness, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, sleep difficulties, feeling keyed up, and easy fatigability. Interestingly, all of the above belong to either the motor tension or vigilance and scanning clusters of the DSM-III-R associated symptom ratings. In contrast, symptoms belonging to the autonomic hyperactivity cluster were endorsed infrequently at all sites. Although additional research is needed (e.g., examination of the symptoms' discriminant validity), these findings essentially support revising the associated symptom criterion of generalized anxiety disorder in accord with option E3 in the DSM-IV Options Book

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