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An Analysis of the Psychache Scale in College Student Problematic Drinkers

Dangel, Trever, MA*; McBee, Matthew T., PhD*; Webb, Jon R., PhD

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: September 2018 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 147–154
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000135
Original Article

Objectives: The objective of the present study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of the Psychache Scale in college students considered to be problematic drinkers.

Methods: Cross-sectional self-report data from 463 undergraduate students who were likely to be hazardous or harmful drinkers were used to study the internal factor structure, internal consistency, and concurrent validity of the scale.

Results: A series of factor analyses revealed that the scale appears to consist of 2 factors, in contrast to the hypothesized unidimensional structure. These 2 factors appear to capture the frequency and severity of the respondents’ levels of psychache. Moreover, these 2 factors appear to be a result of the test’s construction in that item stems with identical response options loaded on the same factor. The scale was also significantly correlated with other measures of psychological distress including depression, hopelessness, and substance use.

Conclusion: The clinical implications of these findings are briefly discussed, with further research being needed to better understand the Psychache Scale’s characteristics in substance use and other populations likely to experience psychological pain, and therefore at risk for suicidal behavior.

*Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Trever Dangel, MA, Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, P.O. Box 70649, Johnson City, TN 37614 (e-mail:

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