Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 459–469 | Cite as

Specificity of the Relationships Between Dysphoria and Related Constructs in an Outpatient Sample

  • Vladan Starcevic
  • David Berle
  • Kirupamani Viswasam
  • Anthony Hannan
  • Denise Milicevic
  • Vlasios Brakoulias
  • Erin Dale
Original Paper


Dysphoria has recently been conceptualized as a complex emotional state that consists of discontent and/or unhappiness and a predominantly externalizing mode of coping with these feelings. The Nepean Dysphoria Scale (NDS) was developed on the basis of this model of dysphoria and used in this clinical study to ascertain the specificity of the relationships between dysphoria and relevant domains of psychopathology. Ninety-six outpatients completed the NDS, Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90R) and Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scales, 21-item version (DASS-21). The scores on the NDS subscales (Discontent, Surrender, Irritability and Interpersonal Resentment) and total NDS scores correlated significantly with scores on the DASS-21 scales and relevant SCL-90R subscales. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated the following: DASS-21 Depression and Stress each had unique relationships with NDS Discontent and Surrender; DASS-21 Anxiety had a unique relationship with NDS Discontent; SCL-90R Hostility and Paranoid Ideation and DASS-21 Stress each had unique relationships with NDS Irritability; and SCL-90R Paranoid Ideation and DASS-21 Stress, Depression and Anxiety each had unique relationships with NDS Interpersonal Resentment. These findings support the notion that dysphoria is a complex emotional state, with both non-specific and specific relationships with irritability, tension, depression, paranoid tendencies, anxiety, hostility and interpersonal sensitivity. Conceptual rigor when referring to dysphoria should be promoted in both clinical practice and further research.


Dysphoria Depression Irritability Nepean Dysphoria Scale 



The authors have no relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in this article. This includes employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending or royalties. No writing assistance was utilized in the production of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vladan Starcevic
    • 1
  • David Berle
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kirupamani Viswasam
    • 4
  • Anthony Hannan
    • 5
  • Denise Milicevic
    • 5
  • Vlasios Brakoulias
    • 1
  • Erin Dale
    • 5
  1. 1.Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School – NepeanUniversity of SydneyPenrithAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychiatryUniversity of New South WalesRandwickAustralia
  3. 3.St John of God Healthcare, Richmond HospitalNorth RichmondAustralia
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryNepean HospitalPenrithAustralia
  5. 5.Nepean Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health DistrictPenrithAustralia

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