Measurement invariance of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms among U.S. military personnel


  • This study was supported by grant number W81XWH-08-1-0170 from the Department of the Army. The authors wish to thank Becky Lane, Carolyn Reyes, Janice Brown, Justin Faerber, Kristine Rae Olmsted, and Carrie Borst for their assistance in preparing this manuscript.

    The views, opinions, and findings contained therein are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official Department of Defense position, policy or decision, unless so designated by other official documentation.


Studies have not examined the factor structure or measurement invariance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology using population-based data. Confirmatory factor analysis of the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) was conducted in a representative sample of U.S. active duty military personnel (N = 15,593). Consistent with prior research, a 4-factor model consisting of reexperiencing, avoidance, emotional numbing, and arousal factors was superior to four alternative models. Measurement invariance was found for factor loadings, but not observed item intercepts when comparing personnel with and without a recent deployment (≤12 months). Findings indicate differences in the level of observed responses across deployment subgroups that exceed what would be expected for individuals with similar PCL latent factors scores. Implications of results are discussed.