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Abstract

Following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the psychometric properties of the Civilian Mississippi scale (CMS) were examined in three ethnic language subgroups (non-Latino–English, Latino–English, and Latino–Spanish). The psychometric patterns corroborated the existence of two subscales: 25 items with regular wording and 10 items with reversed wording. Psychometric properties were examined in relation to demographics, earthquake exposure, trauma, and psychological distress as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory. The results suggest that items with reversed wording generated significantly higher mean posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) scores and lower reliability. Latinos and Spanish-speaking respondents had particular difficulty understanding items with reversed wording, which correlates with significantly lower or no correlation between the CMS–PTSD and psychological distress.