The following is a summary of “Individual differences in the expansiveness of mental disorder concepts: development and validation of concept breadth scales,” published in the October 2023 issue of Psychiatry by Tse et al.
Individual differences in the breadth of concepts of mental disorders may influence how people perceive others experiencing problems and whether they seek help for their problems.
Researchers started a retrospective study to develop and validate two measures of individual differences in the breadth of concepts of mental disorder with the Concept Breadth-Vertical (CB-V) scale and the Concept Breadth-Horizontal (CB-H) scale.
They conducted a pilot study (N = 201) for the CB-V, where participants assessed vignettes of varying severity for each of the 10 mental disorders and determined if the subject had a disease. Study 1 (N = 502) conducted exploratory factor analyses on the 10 CB-V and 20 vignette-based items, creating the CB-H. Study 2 (N = 298) confirmed the scales’ structure and checked their convergent validity with harm concept breadth and their discriminant fact with mental health literacy measures. Study 3 (N = 298) examined the scales’ associations with various mental health variables, including stigma and help-seeking attitudes.
The results showed that in Study 1, the unifactorial structure of each item set was supported, and each set was refined into a scale with acceptable reliabilities. Study 2 confirmed the scales’ convergent and discriminant validity. Study 3 showed that the scales were linked negatively to stigma and positively to help-seeking attitudes and self-reported mental health issues. Studies 2 and 3 suggested that younger and politically liberal participants had broader views of mental disorders.
They concluded that new concept breadth scales provide psychometrically sound measures of an essential new concept in mental health research.