Mismatch of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and DSM-IV symptom clusters in a cancer sample: exploratory factor analysis of the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994a) conceptualization of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) includes three symptom clusters: reexperiencing, avoidance/numbing, and arousal. The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) corresponds to the DSM-IV PTSD symptoms. In the current study, we conducted exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of the PCL-C with two aims: (a) to examine whether the PCL-C evidenced the three-factor solution implied by the DSM-IV symptom clusters, and (b) to identify a factor solution for the PCL-C in a cancer sample. Women (N = 148) with Stage II or III breast cancer completed the PCL-C after completion of cancer treatment. We extracted two-, three-, four-, and five-factor solutions using EFA. Our data did not support the DSM-IV PTSD symptom clusters. Instead, EFA identified a four-factor solution including reexperiencing, avoidance, numbing, and arousal factors. Four symptom items, which may be confounded with illness and cancer treatment-related symptoms, exhibited poor factor loadings. Using these symptom items in cancer samples may lead to overdiagnosis of PTSD and inflated rates of PTSD symptoms.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shelby, RA; Golden-Kreutz, DM; Andersen, BL

Published Date

  • August 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 347 - 357

PubMed ID

  • 16281232

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2151310

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0894-9867

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/jts.20033


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States