Longitudinal invariance of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in adolescent earthquake survivors

Mengcheng Wang, Jon D Elhai, Xiaoyang Dai, Shuqiao Yao
Journal of Anxiety Disorders 2012, 26 (2): 263-70
The present study examined the invariance of four models of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD) across time through an analysis of symptom ratings from the PTSD Checklist-Civilian version. Participants included 403 junior middle school students recruited from Sichuan, China at 5 and 11 months after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Confirmatory factor analysis using measurement and structural invariance testing found that four tested models were non-invariant (i.e., different) over time on PTSD's variable intercepts (indicating symptom severity) and residual error variances, but were invariant on PTSD's factor loadings and structural parameters. The two 4-factor intercorrelated models and the newly proposed 5-factor model were superior to the model defined in DSM-IV; however, the best fitting model was the newest proposed 5-factor model. These findings extend our understanding of PTSD's factor structure that the factor structure may be quite stable over time.

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