Evaluation of a Four-Item DSM–5 Limited Prosocial Emotions Specifier Scale Within and Across Settings With Spanish Children

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The objective was to evaluate a 4-item measure of the DSM–5 Limited Prosocial Emotions (LPE) specifier (a 4-item measure of prosocial emotions). Mothers, fathers, primary teachers, and ancillary teachers completed measures of prosocial emotions (PE), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-inattention (IN), ADHD-hyperactivity/impulsivity (HI), academic and social impairment on 811 Spanish first-grade children (46% girls). Confirmatory factor and structural regression analyses showed PE symptom scores to have (a) good reliability for the 4 sources (80% to 89% true score variance), (b) invariance of like-symptom loadings and intercepts across the 4 sources, (c) strong convergent and discriminant validity within home and school settings, (d) no convergent validity across settings, and (e) associations with academic and social impairment independent of the ODD dimension (the unique effects of PE also remained significant after controlling for ODD, ADHD-IN, and ADHD-HI for mothers and ancillary teachers). A graded response item response theory analysis indicated that PE scores provided an accurate measure of the PE trait across a wide trait range and especially at low PE trait levels (i.e., scores in the clinical range). Findings also supported the DSM–5 diagnostic criteria of 2 or more LPE symptoms in 2 or more settings (e.g., high levels of the LPE trait were associated with the occurrence of 2 or more symptoms with 4% of the sample showing 2 or more symptoms in both settings). Although additional studies are still required, the PE measure appears useful as a brief measure of the LPE specifier.

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