Construction and validation of a dimensional scale exploring mood disorders: MAThyS (Multidimensional Assessment of Thymic States)

Henry, Chantal; Bailara, Katia M.; Mathieu, Flavie; Poinsot, Rollon; Falissard, Bruno
January 2008
BMC Psychiatry;2008, Vol. 8, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: The boundaries between mood states in bipolar disorders are not clear when they are associated with mixed characteristics. This leads to some confusion to define appropriate therapeutic strategies. A dimensional approach might help to better define bipolar moods states and more specifically those with mixed features. Therefore, we proposed a new tool based on a dimensional approach, built with a priori five sub-scales and focus on emotional reactivity rather than exclusively on mood tonality. This study was designed to validate this MAThyS Scale (Multidimensional Assessment of Thymic States). Methods: One hundred and ninety six subjects were included: 44 controls and 152 bipolar patients in various states: euthymic, manic or depressed. The MAThyS is a visual analogic scale consisting of 20 items. These items corresponded to five quantitative dimensions ranging from inhibition to excitation: emotional reactivity, thought processes, psychomotor function, motivation and sensory perception. They were selected as they represent clinically relevant quantitative traits. Results: Confirmatory analyses demonstrated a good validity for this scale, and a good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha coefficient = 0.95). The MathyS scale is moderately correlated of both the MADRS scale (depressive score; r = -0.45) and the MAS scale (manic score; r = 0.56). When considering the Kaiser-Guttman rule and the scree plot, our model of 5 factors seems to be valid. The four first factors have an eigenvalue greater than 1.0 and the eigenvalue of the factor five is 0.97. In the scree plot, the "elbow", or the point at which the curve bends, indicates 5 factors to extract. This 5 factors structure explains 68 per cent of variance. Conclusion: The characterisation of bipolar mood states based on a global score assessing inhibition/activation process (total score of the MATHyS) associated with descriptive analysis on sub-scores such as emotional reactivity (rather than the classical opposition euphoria/sadness) can be useful to better understand the broad spectrum of mixed states.


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