Objective: To address the lack of a simple and standardized instrument to assess overall panic disorder severity, the authors developed a scale for the measurement of panic disorder severity.
Method: Ten independent evaluators used the seven-item Panic Disorder Severity Scale to assess 186 patients with principal DSM-III-R diagnoses of panic disorder (with no or mild agoraphobia) who were participating in the Multicenter Collaborative Treatment Study of Panic Disorder. In addition, 89 of these patients were reevaluated with the same scale after short-term treatment. A subset of 24 patients underwent two independent assessments to establish interrater reliability. Internal consistency, convergent and discriminant validity, and sensitivity to change were also determined.
Results: The Panic Disorder Severity Scale was associated with excellent interrater reliability, moderate internal consistency, and favorable levels of validity and sensitivity to change. Individual items showed good convergent and discriminant validity. Analysis suggested a two-factor model fit the data best.
Conclusions: The Panic Disorder Severity Scale is a simple, efficient way for clinicians to rate severity in patients with established diagnoses of panic disorder. However, further research with more diverse groups of panic disorder patients and with a broader range of convergent and discriminant validity measures is needed.