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Abstract

This study is the latest advancement of our research aimed at best characterizing children's posttraumatic stress reactions. In a previous study, we compared existing nosologic and empirical models of PTSD dimensionality and determined the superior model was a hierarchical one with three symptom clusters (Intrusion/Active Avoidance, Numbing/Passive Avoidance, and Arousal; Anthony, Lonigan, & Hecht, 1999). In this study, we cross-validate this model in two populations. Participants were 396 fifth graders who were exposed to either Hurricane Andrew or Hurricane Hugo. Multisample confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated the model's factorial invariance across populations who experienced traumatic events that differed in severity. These results show the model's robustness to characterize children's posttraumatic stress reactions. Implications for diagnosis, classification criteria, and an empirically supported theory of PTSD are discussed.