Development of psychological tests necessitates coming up with a criteria that follows specific guidelines, namely, coming up with a sample, assessing the characteristics of the sample, developing instruments for testing, and evaluating the instruments using the validity and reliability criteria.
This paper will focus on development of construct and creation of scale by consulting a number of scholarly materials. It will then present an analysis of the best scaling method that should be used.
Operational definition of construct using three articles
Sautter et al. (2009) demonstrate the extent of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by highlighting its effect on marital status. Through a 10 weeks program, the victims of PTSD were able to portray their social cultural factors such as the type of work they could manage to handle for their family, as well as the intimacy levels with their partners.
By using structured clinical interviews, the researchers were able to assess the family involvement level using the Family Environmental Scale. This is a 9-item false or true measure that is used to measure the perception of the PTSD victims with respect to family cohesion.
Social intimacy, on the other hand, was assessed through the Social Intimacy Scale that comprised a 10-point Likert format, where the participants were expected to choose from “always,” “occasionally” and “very uncommon.
The ScienceDaily (2010) reveals the results of a study on PTSD by indicating that the veterans of PTSD have a greater risk of being infected with dementia due to increased psychological distress. This article expresses the importance of forgetting the circumstances that arouse memory of the traumatic events.
Using a PTSD scale, the researchers were able to demonstrate the long-term effects of PTSD, claiming that the victims are likely to be infected with dementia, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, as well as heart disease in future.
Berger & Gelkopf (2009) have expressed concerned over a number of children who were affected by Tusunami in the Sri Lank’s south coast.Using questionaire, the authors have identified trauma risk behaviors and developmental problems amongst the children who witnessed the Tsunami.
This article highlights their characteristics, namely, low levels of social cohession, mental development, high anxiety levels, and high stress levels. The article uses Mental Health Inventory in a bid to evaluate the symptoms of PTSD. This is imperative because the study is able to assess the severity of PTSD through a standardized score ranging from 0 to 100, which indicates that the lesser the score, the greater the severity.
Selecting the appropriate method of scaling for the domain
In this regard, I would prefer to use the Mental Health Inventory since it is able to assess the severity of PTSD under five domains, namely, the cognitive, the social- emotional, the language development, the adaptation to environment, as well as the motor scale of the child.
This is attributed to the fact that the Mental Health Inventory creates an avenue for collecting both subjective and objective information relative to my chosen construct: PTSD. This is achieved through analyzing interviews based on medical outcome.
Additionally, this scaling is the best because the signs and symptoms of PTSD emanate from mental sphere, and therefore treatment can only stem from improving the mental sphere of the children, that is, eradicating anxiety, improving memory structure, and eradicating stress in children affected with PTSD.
Therefore, the best scaling method for assessing the domains of PTSD is a method that takes into account the lifespan of a child. In this case, life span developmental is a study of understanding the different methods of why and how the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and occupational changes occur as the child grows up.
Analysis and justification
How the Instrument will be Normed
The Mental Health Inventory will be normed in such a way that it will accommodate a number of scales, namely, the cognitive, the social- emotional, the language, the adaptive, as well as the motor scale of children suffering from PTSD.
The validity of this instrument stems from the fact that it is able to handle observations scores, structured test, as well as clinical interviews; hence, it will create room for flexibility while measuring data of the victims.
Characteristics of Target Population
The target population that will use this instrument is children aged between the ages of 2 to 7 years. It is vital to study this age group with regard to PTSD because children start experiencing emotions and desires, learning of languages, as well as development of body image while at this age. In this regard, PTSD can lead to low self-esteem, poor body image, and blurred mental vision (ScienceDaily, 2010).
However, participants who have ever experienced traumatic events and do not show signs of PTSD, including loss of memory and anxiety, among other signs, will be eliminated from the study because not all people who have been traumatized develop the PTSD (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010).
Given that PTSD affects children differently, a big sample size of 800 children would be appropriate in order to create an avenue for generalization of measurements. These children should also have the following characteristics: loss of memory, high levels of anxiety, and high levels of stress.
The validity of a scale refers to the degree at which the data measures what it is supposed to measure (Creswell, 2003). The important threats to be considered for internal validity include instrumentation, testing, selection, mortality, and history threats.
Therefore, data collection will be done by emphasizing the importance of time, that is, through a longitudinal study. However, this gives room for history threats, because the PTSD children involved in longitudinal study may show a decrease in the visits to a psychiatry clinic.
Essentially, this might not be the case as these children might be provided with other treatment options. In a bid to ensure quality data collection, the questionnaires need to be evaluated carefully, as this would allow effective screening of PTSD children at various clinical settings.
The testing threats can affect validity when changes occur due to repeated tests instead of the intervention. This mainly stems from awareness of what the evaluators are looking for (Creswell, 2003). There is a high possibility, therefore, of encountering such a threat while using only one instrument: the Mental Health Inventory.
Since children suffering from PTSD necessitate a regular assessment of social as well as cognitive abilities, they are able to study all the answers to the questions posed now and then, thereby creating a validity threat in the testing sphere.
However, while eradicating internal validity threats, the study will include a control group that will be used to assess whether the Mental Health Inventory distinguishes between children suffering from PTSD from the children who are not suffering from the same.
Furthermore, the internal validity threats will be controlled by identifying and eliminating children with signs of attrition, as well as controlling the extraneous variables by preventing the data collectors from intermingling.
Additionally, the internal validity will be achieved by making sure that the data collectors are unaware of the differences in groups, as this facilitates a change of attitude towards the data collection procedures (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Construct validity will be ascertained by the fact that the instrument will be able assess a large sample size that will serve as a basis for generalization.
To ensure data quality, questionnaires will be meticulously evaluated for screening PTSD in children at various clinical settings. This will enable the evaluators to keep track of significant characteristics of the children under the test.
More so, in an effort to make this measurement successful, it is of utmost importance to check the external validity of the instrument. In this case, the study will ensure that it will not be faced with external validity threats by taking the approach of probability sampling of participants.
In other words, the PTSD sample selection will be based on random basis. In doing so, the study will ensure that biased characteristics of participants such as socio-economic, ethnic/racial like, and religious affiliations, among others, are eradicated, as they can lead to biased conclusions.
With this in mind, it is imperative to note that PTSD is a psychological disorder that is influenced by a number of dependent variables as well as independent variables. Hence, there is a correlation between the severity of the disease and environmental factors.
Therefore, the observations scores, structured test, as well as clinical interviews should be based on an evidence-based approach while using the Mental Health Inventory, as this will facilitate validity in measurements of the construct.
Reliability of a research indicates how free it is from the margin of random error. According to Creswell (2003), internal consistency is the degree at which the items that make up the scale are all measuring the same underlying attribute.
In an effort to ensure internal consistency of the Mental Health Inventory, this study will use correlation coefficient and Cronbach Alpha tests. Cohen & Swerdlik (2010) allege that Cronbach’s alpha values depend on the number of items in the scale. This means that if the instrument contains a small number of items in the scale, such as 10, then the values of Cronbach’s alpha will be less than 10.
Thus, the evaluators will endeavor to increase the internal consistency by deleting items that do not seem to enhance the outcome of measurement. The criteria for elimination will be achieved by carrying out a pilot study.
Such piloting will help in overcoming any misleading or ambiguous items and questions. Therefore, in a bid to maximize the reliability of the study, it is imperative to delete all the unnecessary items to a point where the study attains an alpha coefficient of 0.7, as this is a suitable scale for this study.
Procedure used in the Selection of Mental Health Inventory
The Mental Health Inventory was selected after identifying the construct that was of interest through consulting three scholarly articles, as well as evaluating how the operational definition of the construct in the articles was addressed.
In this regard, I have created an operational definition for PTSD and identified the Mental Health Inventory to measure the domains of the disease. The Intrarater reliability is emphasized for this instrument in a bid to evaluate whether the instruments works effectively on scaling PTSD.
Berger, R., & Gelkopf, M. (2009). School-based intervention for the treatment of Tsunami-related distress in children: A quasi-randomized controlled trial. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 78, 364-371.
Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2010). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Sautter, F., Glynn, S., Thompson, K., Franklin, L., & Han, X. (2009). A couple-based approach to the reduction of PTSD avoidance symptoms: Preliminary findings. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 35(3), 343-349.
ScienceDaily. (2010). PTSD and Dementia: More Study Needed to Determine Why Veterans with PTSD Are More at Risk than Others. Web.