Performance of the GAD-7 in adults with dissociative seizures

Laura Goldstein, Silia Vitoratou, Jon Stone, Trudie Chalder, Maria Baldellou Lopez, Alan Carson, Markus Reuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Little is known about the accuracy of the GAD-7, a self-report anxiety measure, in detecting generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) in people with dissociative seizures (DS). We evaluated the reliability, validity and uniformity of the GAD-7 using a diagnosis of GAD on the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview as a reference. Methods: We assessed 368 adults with DS at the pre-randomisation phase of the CODES trial. Factor analysis for categorical data assessed GAD-7 uniformity. Diagnostic accuracy was assessed by estimating the area under the curve (AUC). We evaluated discriminant validity, reviewed data on convergent validity and calculated internal consistency. We explored correlations between GAD-7 scores and monthly DS frequency, frequency of severe seizures and measures of behavioural and emotional avoidance. Results: Internal consistency of the GAD-7 was high (α = 0.92). Factor analysis elicited one main factor and general measurement invariance. Diagnostic accuracy was fair (AUC = 0.72) but the best balance of sensitivity and specificity occurred at a cut-off of ≥12 and still had a specificity rate of only 68%. Discriminant and convergent validity were good. GAD-7 scores correlated positively with DS frequency, severe seizure frequency, behavioural and emotional avoidance (all p < 0.001). Conclusion: Findings regarding internal consistency and factor structure parallel previous psychometric evaluations of the GAD-7. Correlations between GAD-7 scores and DS occurrence/severity and avoidance are evidence of the concept validity of GAD-7 and provide further support for a fear-avoidance treatment model for DS. However, the utility of the GAD-7 as a diagnostic instrument for generalised anxiety disorder is limited in patients with DS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalSeizure
Volume104
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Dissociative seizures; Anxiety; GAD-7; Validation; Factor analysis; Avoidance

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