A new, female-specific irritability rating scale.
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OBJECTIVE: Irritability is a prominent symptom in the spectrum of female-specific mood disorders, and in some women, irritability is serious enough to disrupt their lives and warrant treatment. The objective of this research was to develop a new, female-specific state measure of irritability. METHODS: We constructed self-rating and observer rating scales using items derived from spontaneous descriptions of irritability by women with mood disturbances related to the menstrual cycle, childbearing or menopause. Following a pretest, the scales were shortened to the core items of irritability (annoyance, anger, tension, hostility, sensitivity to noise and touch) and tested on a new cohort of patients. RESULTS: The 14-item Self-Rating Scale and the 5-item Observer Rating Scale showed evidence for internal consistency (Self-Rating: n = 36 patients, Cronbach's alpha = 0.9257, mean interitem correlation = 0.4690; Observer Rating: Cronbach's alpha = 0.7418, mean interitem correlation = 0.3616), Self-Rating test-retest reliability (n = 29 patients, r(s) = 0.704, p = 0.01) and interrater reliability (n = 20 patients; tau(b) = 1.000, p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: This new, female-specific scale for rating irritability has the potential to further the evaluation of this prominent symptom cluster and increase specificity in clinical assessments of emotional disturbances related to reproductive cyclicity in women.
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