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Background: Psychometrically sound measurement instrument is a fundamental requirement across broad range of research areas. In negative affect research, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) has been identified as a psychometrically sound instrument to measure depression, anxiety and stress, especially the 21-item version. However, its psychometric properties in adolescents have been less consistent.
Objectives: Thus, the present study sought to examine the factorial validity and internal consistency of the adapted 21-item version of DASS in Malaysian adolescents.
Method: Using cross-sectional study design, DASS-21 was administered to 750 Malaysian adolescents (Mean age = 13.40 ± 0.49). The data were then analyzed using Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), in which the original DASS-21 factor structure (depression-stress-anxiety) was compared to 8 other alternative models.
Results: CFA results revealed a weak support for DASS-21 as a differentiated measure of depression, anxiety and stress in Malaysian adolescents. Extremely high latent factors intercorrelations were observed in the model reflecting original DASS factor structure. On the other hand, despite the best overall fit of a 4-factor model consisting of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as a general negative affect factor, individual factor loadings for the specific factors were uninterpretable. Although model fit of 1-factor model was inferior when compared the other competing models, this model (1-factor) exhibit reasonable model fit.
Conclusion: We concluded that the use of Malaysian adapted DASS-21 as a differentiated measure stress, anxiety, and depression in Malaysian adolescent should proceed with caution and further refinement of the scale is necessary before a concrete conclusion can be made
Psychometric assessment, depression, anxiety, stress