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