Author

Sue Ann Dowd

Date of Award:

2001

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Susan L. Crowley

Abstract

Internalizing disorders cause serious psychological problems for many adolescents. The effects can be both debilitating and long lasting. However, assessment of internalizing disorders has been plagued by limited measurement strategies. Historically, individual measures were developed to assess the narrow-band symptoms that are subsumed under the broad construct of internalizing disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, and social withdrawal). Recently, the Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents has been created. The Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents is a short screening measure that includes newer models of affect such as the tripartite model of affect. Additionally, there has been limited research on the relationship between self-concept and internalizing disorders. Although the inverse relationship between depression and self-concept is well documented, the relationship between self-concept and other internalizing syndromes is essentially unknown.

The present study addressed the underlying factor structure of the Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents. A factor analysis using principal axis extraction with varimax rotation was conducted. A two-factor solution was identified as superior to any other factor solution considered. The two factors accounted for 34.2% of the total variance in the Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents scores and were identified as Factor 1, Negative Affect/General Distress and Factor 2, Positive Affect. The two-factor solution of the Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents provided some support for Watson and Clark's tripartite model of affectivity. The present study also considered the relationship between the Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents and the Multidimensional Self-Concept Scale. Bivariate correlations were run to evaluate the relationship between internalizing symptoms and self-concept. The correlations ranged from moderate to large (-.42 to -.78) and were inversely related as expected. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine if the Multidimensional Self-Concept Scale subscales could predict internalizing symptoms. The combined predictors accounted for 62% of the variance in the Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents. These findings indicate that self-concept is a robust predictor for internalizing disorders. The study provides evidence for the use of the Internalizing Symptom Scale for Adolescents a s a pscyhometrically sound measure for assessing internalizing disorders in adolescents. Implications of this study for clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed.

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Psychology Commons

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