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J Abnorm Psychol. 2010 Nov;119(4):764-76. doi: 10.1037/a0020981.

A meta-analytic investigation of the structure of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms.

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Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, NY, USA.


Converging lines of evidence have called into question the validity of conceptualizations of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) and suggested alternative structural models of PTSD symptomatology. We conducted a meta-analysis of 40 PTSD studies (N = 14,827 participants across studies) that used a DSM-based measure to assess PTSD severity. We aggregated correlation matrices across studies and then applied confirmatory factor analysis to the aggregated matrices to test the fit of competing models of PTSD symptomatology that have gained support in the literature. Results indicated that both prominent 4-factor models of PTSD symptomatology yielded good model fit across subsamples of studies; however, the model comprising Intrusions, Avoidance, Hyperarousal, and Dysphoria factors appeared to fit better across studies. Results also indicated that the best fitting models were not moderated by measure or sample type. Results are discussed in the context of structural models of PTSD and implications for the diagnostic nosology.

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