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See detailWhat do alexithymia items measure? A discriminant content validity study of the Toronto-alexithymia-scale–20
Veirman, Elke; van Ryckeghem, Dimitri UL; Verleysen, Gregory et al

in PeerJ (2021), 29

Background Questions have been raised about whether items of alexithymia scales assess the construct alexithymia and its key features, and no other related constructs. This study assessed the ... [more ▼]

Background Questions have been raised about whether items of alexithymia scales assess the construct alexithymia and its key features, and no other related constructs. This study assessed the (discriminant) content validity of the most widely used alexithymia scale, i.e., the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Methods Participants (n = 81) rated to what extent TAS-20 items and items of related constructs were relevant for assessing the constructs ‘alexithymia’, ‘difficulty identifying feelings’, ‘difficulty describing feelings’, ‘externally-oriented thinking’, ‘limited imaginal capacity’, ‘anxiety’, ‘depression’, and ‘health anxiety’. Results Results revealed that, overall, the TAS-20 did only partly measure ‘alexithymia’. Only the subscales ‘difficulty identifying feelings’ and ‘difficulty describing feelings’ represented ‘alexithymia’ and their intended construct, although some content overlap between these subscales was found. In addition, some items assessed (health) anxiety equally well or even better. Conclusions Revision of the TAS-20 is recommended to adequately assess all key features of alexithymia. Findings with the TAS-20 need to be interpreted with caution in people suffering from medical conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailLet’s talk about pain catastrophizing measures: an item content analysis
Crombez, Geert; Depaepe, Annick; Veirman, Elke et al

in PeerJ (2020)

Background. Concerns have been raised about whether self-report measures of pain catastrophizing reflect the construct as defined in the cognitive-behavioral literature. We investigated the content of ... [more ▼]

Background. Concerns have been raised about whether self-report measures of pain catastrophizing reflect the construct as defined in the cognitive-behavioral literature. We investigated the content of these self-report measures; that is, whether items assess the construct ‘pain catastrophizing’ and not other theoretical constructs (i.e., related constructs or pain outcomes) using the discriminant content validity method. Method. Items (n = 58) of six pain catastrophizing measures were complemented with items (n = 34) from questionnaires measuring pain-related worrying, vigilance, pain severity, distress, and disability. Via an online survey, 94 participants rated to what extent each item was relevant for assessing pain catastrophizing, defined as ‘‘to view or present pain or pain-related problems as considerably worse than they actually are’’ and other relevant constructs (pain-related worrying, vigilance, pain severity, distress, and disability). Results. Data were analyzed using Bayesian hierarchical models. The results revealed that the items from pain-related worrying, vigilance, pain severity, distress, and disability questionnaires were distinctively related to their respective constructs. This was not observed for the items from the pain catastrophizing questionnaires. The content of the pain catastrophizing measures was equally well, or even better, captured by pain-related worrying or pain-related distress. Conclusion. Based upon current findings, a recommendation may be to develop a novel pain catastrophizing questionnaire. However, we argue that pain catastrophizing cannot be assessed by self-report questionnaires. Pain catastrophizing requires contextual information, and expert judgment, which cannot be provided by self-report questionnaires. We argue for a person-centered approach, and propose to rename ‘pain catastrophizing’ measures in line with what is better measured: ‘pain-related worrying’ [less ▲]

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