Testing the latent structure of posttraumatic stress disorder: A taxometric study of combat veterans

Authors

  • David Forbes,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    2. Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, West Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
    • Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, P.O. Box 5444, West Heidelberg, Victoria 3081, Australia
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  • Nick Haslam,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Ben J. Williams,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Mark Creamer

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    2. Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, West Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

Since the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) first appeared in the psychiatric nomenclature in 1980, considerable debate has revolved around the nature of the condition. Specifically, is PTSD best conceptualized as one end of a continuum of human response to traumatic stress or does it represent a discontinuous latent category? Two taxometric procedures were used to investigate this issue in a random community sample of 692 Australian combat veterans, using structured interview and self-report instruments to assess PTSD symptomatology. Findings favored a dimensional model of PTSD, consistent with previous taxometric work on treatment-seeking samples (A. Ruscio, Ruscio, & Keane, 2002). Implications are drawn for the conceptualization, etiology, and assessment of PTSD.

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