Mark Zimmerman, M.D.
This brief self-report instrument screens for the DSM-IV Axis I disorders most commonly encountered among individuals 18 years of age and older, in medical and outpatient mental health settings. Validated against diagnostic criteria and interview-derived diagnoses, the PDSQ over the course of 10 years and more than 3,000 administrations, has proven effective, convenient and reliable. It allows primary care providers to routinely consider co-morbidity without significant additional demands on their time.
Cut-off Scores and Follow-up Guides for 13 Axis I Disorders
Administered and scored in the clinician's office prior to the initial diagnostic interview, the PDSQ requires just 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The 125 yes-or-no items may be quickly hand scored to obtain a Total Score (which functions as a global indicator of psychopathology) plus scale scores for 13 disorders:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Alcohol Abuse/Dependence
- Drug Abuse/Dependence
- Bulimia/Binge-Eating Disorder
- Somatisation Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Social Phobia
Six items on the Depression scale provide a measure of suicidal ideation.
Cut-off scores, critical items, and follow-up interview guides are provided for each disorder. If the patient scores above the cut-off for one or more disorders, the clinician can use the appropriate follow-up interview guide to gain more specific clinical information and to record relevant details. (These guides are provided on CD and may be printed out as needed.)
A Reliable Yet Quick Diagnostic Screen
The PDSQ has excellent sensitivity and a correspondingly high negative predictive value. Therefore, when the test indicates that a disorder is not present, clinicians may be confident, as long as there is no contradictory information from other sources, that they do not need to inquire further about symptoms for that disorder. Based on cut-offs resulting in a sensitivity of 90%, the mean negative predictive value of the PDSQ subscales is 97%.
If clinicians review PDSQ results before seeing patients, they are less likely to overlook areas of psychopathology, especially when patients suffer from more than one disorder. The PDSQ may improve the efficiency of diagnostic evaluation by quickly guiding clinicians toward symptom areas that should be examined in follow-up assessment.
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