testing & psychodiagnostics

TALEIA-400A (A46, A47, A48: acronym from Test for AxiaL Evaluation and Interview for Clinical, Personnel, and Guidance Applications; where "400-A" stands for "form A, 400 items")
Content validity. TALEIA has been planned and validated referring to internationally used nosographies: DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association) e ICD-10 (World Health Organisation).
Eight scales refer to clinical disorders (Axis I):

  • S, Schizophrenia & Delusional Disorder
  • D, Depressive & Dysthymic Disorders
  • M, Mania & Hypomania
  • AA, Acute anxiety (Panic Disorder)
  • FO, Phobias
  • AG, Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • SOC, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • AL, Eating Disorders

Ten scales refer to personality disorders (Axis II):

  • PP, Paranoid PD
  • PSK, DP schizoid
  • PSKT, DP schizotypal
  • PAS, Antisocial PD
  • PB, Borderline PD
  • PI, Histrionic PD
  • PN, Narcissistic PD
  • PEV, Avoidant PD (DSM) or Anxious PD (ICD)
  • PD, Dependent PD
  • POC, Obsessive-Compulsive PD (DSM) or Ananchastic PD (ICD)

Three control scales are provided:

  • L, Social Desirability (claim of many socially appreciated qualities)
  • F, Claim of many serious and rare (un-Frequent) symptoms
  • INC, Many contradictory answers.

Content validity: evidence and research
The Authors are a group of more than twenty psychologists and psychiatrists. The initial project, inside the Department of Psychology at Sapienza, University of Rome (Italy), aimed at the construction of a new psychopathological test to be used on a national basis in Italy for the draftees screening, responding to an European tender issued by the Italian Government Defence Department. Some of the Authors, in the following years, worked out more parallel forms for a wider usage.
Correspondence between scales' content and the target nosographies has been the object of two subsequent studies, involving 24 psychologists and psychiatrists outside the research group, mostly working in public health organisations and having over ten years clinical experience, on average.
To make sure that verbal-educational factors had a minimal impact on test scores, two separate studies have been planned. A research on small groups of low educational level (national sample, N = 410) involved both quantitative and qualitative methods. A following research, on a national sample of N = 4.070 draftees, confirmed the test readability (less than 1% omitted answers).
No other test in Italy claims studies of this kind and similar results.
Retest reliability, at one or two weeks distance, in three different studies, gave an average result of r = .83. Other well known questionnaires - 16 PF (Russell e Karol, 2001) and MMPI-2 (Graham, 1990, p. 175) - show a correlation r = .80.
As to correlation between parallel forms, DT and TALEIA-400A show an average correlation r = .74. The average correlation between 16-PF-5 and 16 PF-A (Russell e Karol, 2001) is r = .52, and obviously there are no data concerning the MMPI-2 or the MCMI-III, which do not have parallel forms.
Structure validity
TALEIA's scales have undergone Principal Component Analyses along with other measures of psychopathological disorders (PNP by P. Pichot) and of normal personality traits (16 PF by R. B. Cattell). Results show that the main factor underlying TALEIA can be seen as a measure of clinical and personality disorders, while another factor can be regarded as a measure of good or disturbed psycho-social relations. Some disorders are positively related to normal personality traits, as other international studies have recently shown (A42).
TALEIA in comparison with other tests
In a large sample (N = 1,149), all the coefficients of correlation between TALEIA's and MMPI-2's raw scores are significant (p < 1%) and in the expected direction among control scales of similar meaning. Correlations between clinical scales are mostly significant (p < 5%), and obviously are higher between scales similar in content - e.g.: Pt, Psychasthenia, on average correlates r = .50 with the five scales belonging to the "anxiety spectrum" of TALEIA-400A: AG, Generalized Anxiety (r = .71), AA, Acute Anxiety (r = .56), FO, Phobias (r = .55), SOC, Obsessive-compulsive Syndrome (r = .68), PEV, Avoidant or Anxious Personality Disorder (r = .58); scores in the S scale, Schizophrenia, on average correlate r = .73 with scores of scales belonging to the "schizophrenic spectrum"). For scales including items different in content, correlations are null or not significant. This happens for the Mf scale (MMPI-2), referring to sexual identity problems, not included in TALEIA-400A, and for the TALEIA's scale POC, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, as the scientific community did not consider this personality disorder as a relevant one when the MMPI was planned.
Only 76% of the correlation coefficients between the Italian editions of the MCMI-III and of the MMPI-2, in a sample of N = 97, are significant (p < 5%). Even in this comparison the MMPI-2 Mf scale shows no significant correlations with the MCMI-III scales, while the Obsessive-compulsive disorder shows significant negative correlations, modest in size (from 5% to 8% of shared variance) with some MMPI-2 scales: Pd (-.27), Pt (-.23) e Sc (-.28). Due to the small size of the coefficients and of the sample (N < 100), these data do not disconfirm the interpretation above.
Validity evidence from different groups studies
One of TALEIA's forms has been submitted to four large samples: (i) "certified normal": 773 men (Italian national sample) who had been certified as "not pathological" after a medical screening including MMPI and a medical interview; (ii) "unselected normal, in a draft screening situation": 386 young men from Rome city and county; (iii) "unselected normal, in a guidance situation voluntarily required": 156 young men from Rome city and county; (iv) "certified pathological": 384 patients from different Italian cities (Central and Northern Italy), with medical diagnosis of clinical or personality disorder (53 different diagnoses, as to their DSM-IV codes). A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) showed significant differences among the four samples and similar relevance of two factors: testing situation, and psychological or personality disorders (C67, C68).
Clinical studies
A recent study on schizophrenic patients showed that TALEIA-400A gives correct evidence about comorbidities: BUZZANCA, A., DI FABIO, F., BONCORI, L., BIONDI, M., (2010) Comorbilità psicopatologiche e qualità della vita in un campione di pazienti psichiatrici, "Rivista di psichiatria", 45, 22-33.
Italian norms
The evidence about the relevance of the testing situation suggested the opportunity of calculating different norms for the following typical situations:

  • clinical
  • guidance
  • "first level" selection
  • "second level" selection (managerial and professional positions)

The Italian norms are based on four samples of 7,000 Ss. (total), examined between years 2000 and 2007. The norms are verified on an annual basis, and released to the authorised users via internet.
TALEIA's norms are unique in Italy both for their situation specificity and for their continual revision.

International developments
TALEIA-400A has been translated into Polish, Spanish (European and Argentinian Spanish), and English. Studies about comparability of social distortion in different countries have been conducted, as well as further research on validity in different countries, thanks to international academic agreements. TALEIA's Polish version, after a previous validity study, has been successfully used in a nation-wide research about PTSD, coordinated by prof. B. Zawadzky, University of Warsaw. The Spanish versions have been initially validated thanks to the co-operation of prof. C. Jenaro Rio (Univ. of Salamanca, Spain), prof. C. Fernández Liporace (Univ. of Buenos Aires, Argentina). An English-American version is undertaking a validity study in the California State University of Los Angeles - Northridge (CA, USA), thanks to the co-operation of prof. L. Laganà. A Brazilian edition is under construction.
Further international agreements are under discussion.