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Clinical utility of the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire (MASQ) in a sample of young help-seekers.
journal contributionposted on 2007-01-01, 00:00 authored by J A Buckby, Alison YungAlison Yung, E M Cosgrave, E J Killackey
BACKGROUND: The overlap between Depression and Anxiety has led some researchers to conclude that they are manifestations of a broad, non-specific neurotic disorder. However, others believe that they can be distinguished despite sharing symptoms of general distress. The Tripartite Model of Affect proposes an anxiety-specific, a depression-specific and a shared symptoms factor. Watson and Clark developed the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire (MASQ) to specifically measure these Tripartite constructs. Early research showed that the MASQ distinguished between dimensions of Depression and Anxiety in non-clinical samples. However, two recent studies have cautioned that the MASQ may show limited validity in clinical populations. The present study investigated the clinical utility of the MASQ in a clinical sample of adolescents and young adults. METHODS: A total of 204 Young people consecutively referred to a specialist public mental health service in Melbourne, Australia were approached and 150 consented to participate. From this, 136 participants completed both a diagnostic interview and the MASQ. RESULTS: The majority of the sample rated for an Axis-I disorder, with Mood and Anxiety disorders most prevalent. The disorder-specific scales of the MASQ significantly discriminated Anxiety (61.0%) and Mood Disorders (72.8%), however, the predictive accuracy for presence of Anxiety Disorders was very low (29.8%). From ROC analyses, a proposed cut-off of 76 was proposed for the depression scale to indicate 'caseness' for Mood Disorders. The resulting sensitivity/specificity was superior to that of the CES-D. CONCLUSION: It was concluded that the depression-specific scale of the MASQ showed good clinical utility, but that the anxiety-specific scale showed poor discriminant validity.