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Core Symptom Index (CSI): testing for bifactor model and differential item functioning

  • Nahathai Wongpakaran (a1), Tinakon Wongpakaran (a1), Surang Lertkachatarn (a2), Thanitha Sirirak (a3) and Pimolpun Kuntawong (a1)...



The Core Symptom Index (CSI) is designed to measure anxiety, depression and somatization symptoms. This study examined the construct validity of CSI using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) including a bifactor model and explored differential item functioning (DIF) of the CSI. The criterion and concurrent validity were evaluated.


In all, 803 elderly patients, average age 69.24 years, 70% female, were assessed for depressive disorders and completed the CSI and the geriatric depression scale (GDS). A series involving CFA for ordinal scale was applied. Factor loadings and explained common variance were analyzed for general and specific factors; and Omega was calculated for model-based reliability. DIF was analyzed using the Multiple-Indicator Multiple-Cause model. Pearson’s correlation, ANOVA, and ROC analysis were used for associations and to compare CSI and GDS in predicting major depressive disorders (MDD).


The bifactor model provided the best fit to the data. Most items loaded on general rather than specific factors. The explained common variance was acceptable, while Omega hierarchical for the subscale and explained common variance for the subscales were low. Two DIF items were identified; ‘crying’ for sex items and ‘self-blaming’ for education items. Correlation among CSI and clinical disorders and the GDS were found. AUC for the GDS was 0.83, and for the CSI was 0.81.


CSI appears sufficiently unidimensional. Its total score reflected a single general factor, permitting users to interpret the total score as a sufficient reliable measure of the general factors. CSI could serve as a screening tool for MDD.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Nahathai Wongpakaran, MD, FRCPsychT, Professor of Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University 110 Intawaroros Rd., T. Sriphum, A. Muang, Chiang Mai, Kingdom of Thailand. 50200. Phone: +66 53 935422 ext 320; Fax: +66 53 935426. Email:


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Core Symptom Index (CSI): testing for bifactor model and differential item functioning

  • Nahathai Wongpakaran (a1), Tinakon Wongpakaran (a1), Surang Lertkachatarn (a2), Thanitha Sirirak (a3) and Pimolpun Kuntawong (a1)...


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