HEALTH / WELL-BEING

PTSD’s factor structure and measurement invariance across subgroups with differing count of trauma types

Article

This article investigates the effect of ‘traumatizing event’ types on post-trauma mental health. Participants included those presenting with one versus multiple trauma types. Although this research did not involve military or veteran participants, the findings will have a positive impact on understandings of PTSD across different groups.

Abstract

To investigate the effect of the count of traumatizing event (TE) types on post-trauma mental health, several studies have compared posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity between individuals experiencing one versus multiple TE types. However, the validity of these studies depends on the establishment of measurement invariance of the construct(s) of interest. The current study examined the stability of the most optimal PTSD Model symptom cluster constructs (assessed by the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 [PCL-5]) across subgroups experiencing one versus multiple TE types. The sample included university students (n = 556) endorsing at least one TE (Stressful Life Events Screening Questionnaire). Using data from the entire sample, results suggest that the PCL-5-assessed Hybrid Model provided a significantly better fit compared to other models. Results also indicated invariance of factor loadings (metric), and intercepts (scalar) for the PCL-5-assessed Hybrid Model factors across subgroups endorsing one (n = 191) versus multiple TE types (n = 365). Our findings thus support the stability, applicability, and meaningful comparison of the PCL-assessed Hybrid Model factor structure (including subscale severity scores) across subgroups experiencing one versus multiple TE types.

Full Reference

Contractor, A. A., Caldas, S. V., Dolan, M., Lagdon, S. and Armour, C., 2018. PTSD's factor structure and measurement invariance across subgroups with differing count of trauma types. Psychiatry Research, 264, 76-84.