Measurement Differences From Rating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Response to Differentially Distressing Traumatic Events
AbstractThe authors explored differences in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as a result of rating symptoms from two separate, differentially distressing traumatic events. In an initial sample of 400 nonclinical participants, the authors inquired through a web survey about previous psychological trauma, instructing participants to nominate their most distressing and second most distressing traumatic events experienced. Using the PTSD Checklist, participants rated their PTSD symptoms separately from these worst and second worst events. Using the four-factor emotional numbing PTSD model in confirmatory factor analysis, results demonstrated evidence supporting separation of PTSD symptom rating sets from two differentially distressing traumas—specifically, the worst and second worst events. Measurement invariance tests revealed that factor loadings did not vary between the worst and second worst event PTSD ratings; item thresholds (indexing symptom severity) differed. Results generally support the recommended PTSD assessment protocol instructing participants to rate PTSD symptoms from a single, worst index event.