Utilization of the DSM-5 Self-Rated Level 1 Cross-Cutting Symptom Measure-Adult to Screen Healthy Volunteers for Research Studies

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Jan 27;286:112822. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112822. Online ahead of print.


The DSM-5 Level 1 Cross-Cutting Symptom Measure-Adult (DSM XC) was developed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as a transdiagnostic measure of current mental health symptomatology. This paper describes utilization of the DSM XC to screen volunteers for participation in mental health research studies as healthy controls. Research volunteers completed an online, modified version of the DSM XC, which along with other clinical information, was used to determine eligibility for participation as a healthy control. The sensitivity and specificity of screening positive on the DSM XC for this eligibility decision were calculated. Of 506 volunteers who completed the screening process, 159 (31%) were ineligible due to mental health reasons. The DSM XC sensitivity in predicting this determination was 64.2% [95% CI: 56.5 - 71.3] and its specificity was 83.9% [95% CI: 79.7 - 87.5]. When DSM XC responses were combined with information about current psychotropic medication use, an important determinant of study eligibility, the sensitivity improved to 81.8% [95% CI: 75.3 - 87.2). These findings provide preliminary support for the use of the DSM XC as an initial screening tool for mental health studies that enroll healthy research volunteers, particularly when supplemented by additional clinical history such as psychotropic medication use.

Keywords: Clinical research; Mental health; Research volunteers; Screening tools; Study recruitment; Transdiagnostic.