Danish Psychiatry and Rasch

Per Bech and Peter Allerup author seven of the 31 Rasch-referenced articles in a Danish bibliographic database. Their articles reference eight more publications along the same lines. The papers discuss Rasch calibrations of instruments widely used in controlled clinical studies including the Hamilton Depression Scale and the Marke-Nyman Temperament Scale.

An interesting aspect of Bech and Allerup's measurement of psychiatric phenomena is their emphasis on the framework of observation. In order to count on the persistence of the structure of observation, it is essential to recognize that "... pains do not arrive already hall- marked 'rheumatic'". Etiology (why things happen) embodies an ideology (a way of thinking about things). Science, though shaped by economic, social, and cultural forces, is truest when the instruments measuring and the measures made retain a consistent unit within an observational frame of reference that is replicable across samples, technicians and laboratories. When a frame of reference useful for understanding one cultural milieu does not hold up for another, the effort to measure should not be abandoned. Neither should data from one group be forced into a mode of representation inconsistent with it. Rather, the analysis of group-level misfit can guide us to arrange constructs homogeneously.

Bech and Allerup (1986) focus on constructs of depression - on distinguishing between items indicative of severity from those better for diagnosis. Useful dimensions and categories become apparent through this distinction. Three categories (none, minor, and major depression) work to delineate severity. The two diagnostic dimensions, endogenous and reactive depression, are not mutually exclusive and are therefore structured by a common set of categories comprised of definite and probable ratings of each diagnosis, as well as a definite combination of the two.

Bech, Allerup, and Rosenberg (1978) examine the Marke-Nyman Temperament Scale (MNTS) for transferability, an R. B. Cattell notion that these authors construe as sample-free measurement. Two popular organizations of the 60 MNTS items into three sub-scales were shown to result in non-transferable scores. One of the two sets of sub-scales failed to meet the requirements of measurement only because two items on each of the three sub-scales misfit. Examination of these items revealed psychologically relevant reasons for the misfit. The items were removed from the analyses. The reduced sub-scales subsequently demonstrated adequate transferability, and improved capacity to distinguish between personality types.

For those who read Danish, Rosenberg, Allerup, and Bech (1979) will be of interest as an introduction to the use of rating scales in clinical trials. Various measurement problems are outlined, and the manner in which Rasch models deal with them is discussed by example. The authors take a strong position on the meaningfulness and utility of the models, saying (in the English summary), "It is emphasized here that an unequivocal connection is present between the basic principles for measurement and the models mentioned."


Danish Psychiatry and Rasch, W Fisher Jr. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1991, 5:1 p. 138


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Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
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