Person misfit on the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology: Low quality self-report or true atypical symptom profile?

Judith M. Conijn*, Philip Spinhoven, Rob R. Meijer, Femke Lamers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Person misfit on a self-report measure refers to a response pattern that is unlikely given a theoretical measurement model. Person misfit may reflect low quality self-report data, for example due to random responding or misunderstanding of items. However, recent research in the context of psychopathology suggests that person misfit may reflect atypical symptom profiles that have implications for diagnosis or treatment. We followed-up on Wanders et al. (Journal of Affective Disorders, 180, 36–43, 2015) who investigated person misfit on the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS) in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (n = 2,981). Our goal was to investigate the extent to which misfit on the IDS reflects low-quality self-report patterns and the extent to which it reflects true atypical symptom profiles. Regression analysis showed that person misfit related more strongly to self-report quality indicators than to variables quantifying theoretically-derived atypical symptom profiles. A data-driven atypical symptom profile explained most variance in person misfit, suggesting that person misfit on the IDS mainly reflects a sample- and questionnaire-specific atypical symptom profile. We concluded that person-fit statistics are useful for detecting IDS scores that may not be valid. Further research is necessary to support the interpretation of person misfit as reflecting a meaningful atypical symptom combination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1548
JournalInternational Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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