Training for Assessment of Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia across Languages and Cultures: Comparison of the NSA-16 with the PANSS Negative Subscale and Negative Symptom FactorAuthor(s): David G. Daniel , Larry Alphs , Pilar Cazorla , John J. Bartko , John Panagides
Background: The 16-item Negative Symptom Assessment scale (NSA-16) has been validated in English-speaking raters. We analyzed the level of agreement achieved among raters of different nationalities using the NSA-16 and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) negative subscale and Marder negative factor. Methods: Raters participating in two international trials were trained in the use of each instrument through lectures and feedback on their ratings of at least one videotaped interview of a schizophrenic patient. Overall and regional (North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South/Central America, and Australia and South Africa combined) kappa values were calculated and mean total scores were compared (1-way analysis of variance) by region for each instrument. In addition, within-scales variance was calculated by item to help identify negative symptoms that were particularly challenging to obtain agreement on across cultures. Results: In the combined group of international raters, the kappa values for ratings of the NSA-16, PANSS negative subscale, and Marder negative factors were 0.89, 0.84, and 0.82, respectively. Kappa values calculated by geographic region ranged from 0.87 to 0.94 for the NSA-16 compared with 0.82 to 0.86 for the PANSS negative subscale and 0.79 to 0.87 for the PANSS Marder negative factor. Conclusions: Despite cultural and linguistic differences among raters, standardizing measurement of negative symptoms in international clinical trials is possible using available rating scales: NSA-16, PANSS negative subscale, and Marder negative subscale. Agreement among raters was at least as high using the NSA-16 as using the PANSS instruments.