Validation of mental health screening instruments in the Kashmir Valley, India
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AbstractThe present study aimed to culturally adapt, translate, and validate the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25) and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire-Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Checklist (HTQ-16) prior to use in a cross-sectional mental health population survey in the Kashmir Valley. Cultural adaptation and translation of the HSCL-25 and the HTQ-16 employed multiple forms of transcultural validity check. The HSCL-25 and HTQ-16 were compared against a "gold standard" structured psychiatric interview, the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Interviews were conducted with 290 respondents recruited using consecutive sampling from general medical outpatient departments in five districts of the Kashmir Valley. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis was used to estimate the cut point with optimal discriminatory power based on sensitivity and specificity. Internal reliability of the HSCL-25 was high, Cronbach's alpha (α) = .92, intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) = 0.75, with an estimated optimal cut point of 1.50, lower than the conventional cut point of 1.75. Separation of the instruments into subscales demonstrated a difference in the estimated cut point for the anxiety subscale and the depression subscale, 1.75 and 1.57, respectively. Too few respondents were diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during structured psychiatric interview, and therefore the HTQ-16 could not be validated despite the fact that high internal reliability was demonstrated (α = .90). This study verified the importance of culturally adapting and validating screening instruments in particular contexts. The use of the conventional cut point of 1.75 would likely have misclassified depression in our survey, leading to an underestimate of this condition.
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