Validity of the animal model in studying psychiatric disorder is another criteria that should be met and there are several types of validity that include predictive, convergent, discriminative, etiological and face validity. The purpose of the model is to enhance understanding of psychiatric disorders in human population and only valid scientific observables are the correlations thus the model must lead to accurate prediction (Menard & Treit, 1999, p 593). Predictive validity refers to ability to test or predict the phenomenon that interests the investigator thus such model requires parallel development of clinical measures that will allow for comparisons in psychiatric disorders in human population.
An ideal model for psychiatric disorders must respond to treatment with anxiolytic drugs such as benzodiazepines with decreased anxiety and must display defense mechanisms when faced with threatening stimulus while processes underlying psychiatric disorders and psychological causes must be identical (Bilkei-Gorzo, Holsboer & Strohle, 2005). Face validity is the phenomenological similarity in behaviour (dependent variable) that is portrayed by the animal model and identifiable symptoms of psychiatric disorder. Although face validity seems convincing and appealing, it may be misleading and cannot validate models alone since it is only the starting point of the model.
In this case, researchers argue that it is unrealistic for two species to have similar phenomenology or symptoms even when the etiology of the psychiatric disorder is known (Claridge & Davis, 2013). In this case, face validity of psychopathology models may not be established objectively and not sufficient condition for determining the usefulness of the animal models. Furthermore, face validity offers knowledge of the symptoms of the disorder such as changes in mood or appetite, but not the similarities in the mechanisms or underlying processes that lead to changes in appetite or mood swings in psychiatric disorders (Emilien, 2002).
Construct validity entails accuracy of testing what the test measures and does not consider the etiology of the disorders. Although some researchers have considered it the most important property of measure, it is only established rarely since new observational and experimental evidence will accrue from the animal models and clinical conditions that are made by the investigator during construct validation (Claridge & Davis, 2013). An ideal animal model will have etiological validity if etiologies of phenomenon in the model and symptoms of psychiatric disorders in humans are identical.
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