The WERCAP Screen and the WERC Stress Screen: Psychometrics of self-rated instruments for assessing bipolar and psychotic disorder risk and perceived stress burden

Daniel Mamah, Akinkunle Owoso, Julia M. Sheffield, Chelsea Bayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Methods Prevalence rates of the WERCAP Screen were evaluated among 171 community youth (aged 13-24 years); internal consistency was assessed and k-means cluster analysis was used to identify symptom groups. In 33 participants, test-retest reliability coefficients were assessed, and ROC curve analysis was used to determine the validity of the psychosis section of the WERCAP Screen (pWERCAP) against the Structured Interview of Psychosis-Risk Symptoms (SIPS). Correlations of the pWERCAP, the affectivity section of the WERCAP Screen (aWERCAP) and the WERC Stress Screen were examined to determine the relatedness of scores with cognition and clinical measures.

Background Identification of individuals in the prodromal phase of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia facilitates early intervention and promises an improved prognosis. There are no current assessment tools for clinical risk symptoms of bipolar disorder, and psychosis-risk assessment generally involves semi-structured interviews, which are time consuming and rater dependent. We present psychometric data on two novel quantitative questionnaires: the Washington Early Recognition Center Affectivity and Psychosis (WERCAP) Screen for assessing bipolar and psychotic disorder risk traits, and the accompanying WERC Stress Screen for assessing individual and total psychosocial stressor severities.

Results Cluster analysis identified three groups of participants: a normative (47%), a psychosis-affectivity (18%) and an affectivity only (35%) group. Internal consistency of the aWERCAP and pWERCAP resulted in alphas of 0.87 and 0.92, and test-retest reliabilities resulted in intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.76 and 0.86 respectively. ROC curve analysis showed the optimal cut-point on the pWERCAP as a score of >30 (sensitivity: 0.89; specificity: 1.0). There was a significant negative correlation between aWERCAP scores and total cognition (R = -0.42), and between pWERCAP scores and sensorimotor processing speed. Total stress scores correlated significantly with scores on the aWERCAP (R = 0.88), pWERCAP (R = 0.62) and total cognition (R = -0.44).

Conclusions Our results show that the WERCAP Screen and the WERC Stress Screen are easy to administer and derived scores are related to cognitive and clinical traits. This suggests that their use could have particular benefits for epidemiologic studies and in busy clinical settings. Longitudinal studies would be required to evaluate clinical outcomes with high questionnaire scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1757-1771
Number of pages15
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume55
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

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