TitleFunctioning and validity of a computerized adaptive test to measure anxiety (A CAT)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBecker, J, Fliege, H, Kocalevent, RD, Bjorner, JB, Rose, M, Walter, OB, Klapp, BF
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number1520-6394

Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the Computerized Adaptive Test to measure anxiety (A-CAT), a patient-reported outcome questionnaire that uses computerized adaptive testing to measure anxiety. Methods: The A-CAT builds on an item bank of 50 items that has been built using conventional item analyses and item response theory analyses. The A-CAT was administered on Personal Digital Assistants to n=357 patients diagnosed and treated at the department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Charité Berlin, Germany. For validation purposes, two subgroups of patients (n=110 and 125) answered the A-CAT along with established anxiety and depression questionnaires. Results: The A-CAT was fast to complete (on average in 2 min, 38 s) and a precise item response theory based CAT score (reliability>.9) could be estimated after 4–41 items. On average, the CAT displayed 6 items (SD=4.2). Convergent validity of the A-CAT was supported by correlations to existing tools (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-A, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Berliner Stimmungs-Fragebogen A/D, and State Trait Anxiety Inventory: r=.56–.66); discriminant validity between diagnostic groups was higher for the A-CAT than for other anxiety measures. Conclusions: The German A-CAT is an efficient, reliable, and valid tool for assessing anxiety in patients suffering from anxiety disorders and other conditions with significant potential for initial assessment and long-term treatment monitoring. Future research directions are to explore content balancing of the item selection algorithm of the CAT, to norm the tool to a healthy sample, and to develop practical cutoff scores. Depression and Anxiety, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.