Date of Award

1-1-1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Psychology

School

Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Professor Assen Jablensky

Abstract

The assessment of psychopathology is fundamental to clinical psychiatry. Schneider's (1959) First Rank Symptoms (FRS) are an integral part of numerous diagnostic criteria and Huber's Basic Symptoms (BS) are thought to form the basis of the FRS (Huber & Gross, 1989). The aim of the current study was to develop and evaluate a self-administered screening instrument to detect FRS and BS in clinical populations. A three stage design was used to achieve this. Stage one included the development of items and stage two was concerned with item analysis. Stage three comprised a pilot study in which a number of hypotheses were tested in the process of evaluating the instrument's performance. The sample comprised two groups of 51 psychiatric patients (probands) and 50 healthy controls. The probands were diagnosed through the administration of the Diagnostic Interview for Psychosis (DIP; Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services, in press) and grouped by the Operational Criteria for Psychosis (OPCRIT; McGuffin, Farmer & Harvey, 1991) algorithm into categories of "schizophrenia", "other psychotic" and "non-psychotic" disorders in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-1 0; World Health Organisation, l992a). The results showed that while healthy controls occasionally experience and report the First Rank and Basic Symptoms phenomena, the probands reported significantly more FRS and BS than the healthy controls (p < .001). FRS were reported significantly more frequently by patients diagnosed with schizophrenia than by patients diagnosed with "other psychotic" or "non-psychotic" disorders (Q = .004). BS were reported more frequently by patients with schizophrenia compared with the other two groups, however, the difference was not statistically significant. By using Kendall's tau correlation, the FRS and BS categories were found to be associated. This preliminary study presents data supporting the reliability, validity and the sensitivity of the screening instrument for detecting psychotic symptomatology in clinical populations. The results show that psychiatric patients can self-report their psychopathological experiences. With further development, this instrument may be a useful tool in a variety of clinical and research settings.

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