Deconstructing therapy outcome measurement with Rasch analysis of a measure of general clinical distress: the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised

Robert Elliott, Christine M. Fox, Svetlana A. Beltyukova, Gregory E. Stone, Jennifer Gunderson, Xi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
383 Downloads (Pure)


Rasch analysis was used to illustrate the usefulness of item-level analyses for evaluating a common therapy outcome measure of general clinical distress, the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R; Derogatis, 1994). Using complementary therapy research samples, the instrument's 5-point rating scale was found to exceed clients' ability to make reliable discriminations and could be improved by collapsing it into a 3-point version (combining scale points 1 with 2 and 3 with 4). This revision, in addition to removing 3 misfitting items, increased person separation from 4.90 to 5.07 and item separation from 7.76 to 8.52 (resulting in alphas of .96 and .99, respectively). Some SCL-90-R subscales had low internal consistency reliabilities; SCL-90-R items can be used to define one factor of general clinical distress that is generally stable across both samples, with two small residual factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-372
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Rasch analysis
  • therapy
  • clinical distress
  • psychotherapy
  • social psychology

Cite this