• Evaluation of psychiatric screening and diagnostic tests has benefited from the application of sensitivity, specificity, the k-statistic, and predictive values. These measures derive their meaning from a single criterion threshold. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis extends assessment of test performance by providing information about all possible pairs of achievable sensitivity and specificity values. The ROC analysis offers a comprehensive means for comparing different tests or different scoring procedures for one test. As a demonstration we used the ROC analysis to evaluate three types of scoring rules for one psychiatric test, the Health Opinion Survey. The demonstration indicated that ROC analysis can profitably take a place among the standard methods for test evaluation in psychiatric research. In addition, ROC analysis can assist clinicians in selecting appropriate test procedures for particular patient populations.
Murphy JM, Berwick DM, Weinstein MC, Borus JF, Budman SH, Klerman GL. Performance of Screening and Diagnostic TestsApplication of Receiver Operating Characteristic Analysis. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(6):550-555. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800180068011