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28-07-2016 | Uitgave 4/2017

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 4/2017

DSM-5 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Structure in Disaster-Exposed Adolescents: Stability across Gender and Relation to Behavioral Problems

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 4/2017
Xing Cao, Li Wang, Chengqi Cao, Jianxin Zhang, Jon D. Elhai


Given the significant modifications to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom criteria from DSM-IV to DSM-5, a better understanding of the dimensionality underlying DSM-5 PTSD symptoms among adolescents is needed. However, to date, whether gender moderates the latent structure of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms in youth remains unclear. Meanwhile, little is known about how distinct PTSD dimensions relate to adolescent behavioral problems. The aim of this study was to fill these gaps. A sample of 1184 disaster-exposed Chinese adolescents (53.8 % girls) with age ranging from 13 to 17 years (M = 14.3, SD = 0.8) completed the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, and the Withdrawn, Aggressive Behavior, and Delinquent Behavior subscales of the Youth Self-Report. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the seven-factor hybrid PTSD model provided the best fit to the data for both girls and boys. Measurement equivalence of this model held across gender, although girls had higher mean scores than boys on some factors. Differential patterns of associations emerged between PTSD dimensions and behavioral problems, with anhedonia symptoms most strongly relating to social withdrawal, and externalizing behavior symptoms most strongly relating to aggression and delinquency. These findings further support the gender invariance and external criterion validity of the newly refined hybrid model that best represents DSM-5 PTSD symptom structure in youth, and carry implications for accurate assessment, diagnosis, and gender comparison of DSM-5 PTSD symptomatology, and potential symptom targets for PTSD intervention among adolescent disaster survivors.

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