Specificity of the Relationships Between Dysphoria and Related Constructs in an Outpatient Sample

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Journal Article
Psychiatric Quarterly, 2015, 86 (4), pp. 459 - 469
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© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Dysphoria has recently been conceptualized as a complex emotional state that consists of discontent and/or unhappiness and a predominantly externalizing mode of coping with these feelings. The Nepean Dysphoria Scale (NDS) was developed on the basis of this model of dysphoria and used in this clinical study to ascertain the specificity of the relationships between dysphoria and relevant domains of psychopathology. Ninety-six outpatients completed the NDS, Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90R) and Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scales, 21-item version (DASS-21). The scores on the NDS subscales (Discontent, Surrender, Irritability and Interpersonal Resentment) and total NDS scores correlated significantly with scores on the DASS-21 scales and relevant SCL-90R subscales. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated the following: DASS-21 Depression and Stress each had unique relationships with NDS Discontent and Surrender; DASS-21 Anxiety had a unique relationship with NDS Discontent; SCL-90R Hostility and Paranoid Ideation and DASS-21 Stress each had unique relationships with NDS Irritability; and SCL-90R Paranoid Ideation and DASS-21 Stress, Depression and Anxiety each had unique relationships with NDS Interpersonal Resentment. These findings support the notion that dysphoria is a complex emotional state, with both non-specific and specific relationships with irritability, tension, depression, paranoid tendencies, anxiety, hostility and interpersonal sensitivity. Conceptual rigor when referring to dysphoria should be promoted in both clinical practice and further research.
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