Research over the last decade has been promising in terms of the incremental utility of psychometric tools in predicting important clinical outcomes, such as mental health service utilization and inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a new Level of Care Index (LOCI) from the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). Logistic regression was initially used in a development sample (n = 253) of psychiatric patients to identify unique PAI indicators associated with inpatient (n = 75) as opposed to outpatient (n = 178) status. Five PAI variables were ultimately retained (Suicidal Ideation, Antisocial Personality-Stimulus Seeking, Paranoia-Persecution, Negative Impression Management, and Depression-Affective) and were then aggregated into a single LOCI and independently evaluated in a second validation sample (n = 252). Results indicated the LOCI effectively differentiated inpatients from outpatients after controlling for demographic variables and was significantly associated with both internalizing and externalizing risk factors for psychiatric admission (range of ds = 0.46 for history of arrests to 0.88 for history of suicidal ideation). The LOCI was additionally found to be meaningfully associated with measures of normal personality, performance-based tests of psychological functioning, and measures of neurocognitive (executive) functioning. The clinical implications of these findings and potential utility of the LOCI are discussed.
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