Item response theory (IRT) and categorical data factor analysis (CDFA) are complementary methods for the analysis of the psychometric properties of psychiatric measures that purport to measure latent constructs. These methods have been applied to relatively few child and adolescent measures. We provide the first combined IRT and CDFA analysis of a clinical measure (the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire--SMFQ) in a community sample of 7-through 11-year-old children. Both latent variable models supported the internal construct validity of a single underlying continuum of severity of depressive symptoms. SMFQ items discriminated well at the more severe end of the depressive latent trait. Item performance was not affected by age, although age correlated significantly with latent SMFQ scores suggesting that symptom severity increased within the age period of 7-11. These results extend existing psychometric studies of the SMFQ and confirm its scaling properties as a potential dimensional measure of symptom severity of childhood depression in community samples.
Sharp, C., Goodyer, I. M., & Croudace, T. J. (2006). The Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ): a unidimensional item response theory and categorical data factor analysis of self-report ratings from a community sample of 7-through 11-year-old children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34(3), 365-377. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-006-9027-x