Scientists from Qatar and the United States have managed to validate an Arabic version of the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS) among patients with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenics commonly show both depressive and negative symptoms that can affect the prognosis and course of their treatment. Negative symptoms are disabling symptoms that have a major impact on the quality of life of patients, more so than positive symptoms, which are thought patterns and behaviors that patients acquire after they become ill.
Tests such as CDSS are designed to distinguish between depression, and negative symptoms that are distinctive of schizophrenia.
These tests are not diagnostic per se, “but they are mainly there to asses the severity of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and the possible associated depressive symptoms (using CDSS),” explains Hassen Al-Amin, professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar and corresponding author of the study that validated the psychiatric test.
“They are significant because they can help us know how sick these patients are and also to monitor how they are responding to treatment with time,” he says.
These types of tests have been used worldwide and their validity is established.
In order to make them work for Arab populations, experts and researchers had to translate the material thoroughly and decide the appropriate cultural equivalents in Arabic. “We then test the Arabic versions with Arab patients with schizophrenia and compare them with those obtained internationally to make sure that we have a valid scale that is culturally acceptable also,” says Al-Amin.