The latent structure of posttraumatic stress disorder: a taxometric investigation of reactions to extreme stress.J Abnorm Psychol. 2002 May; 111(2):290-301.JA
Mental health professionals have debated whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be qualitatively distinguished from normal reactions to traumatic events. This debate has been fueled by indications that many trauma-exposed individuals evidence partial presentations of PTSD that are associated with significant impairment and help-seeking behavior. The authors examined the latent structure of PTSD in a large sample of male combat veterans. Three taxometric procedures-MAMBAC, MAXEIG, and L-Mode-were performed with 3 indicator sets drawn from a clinical interview and a self-report measure of PTSD. Results across procedures, consistency tests, and analysis of simulated comparison data all converged on a dimensional solution, suggesting that PTSD reflects the upper end of a stress-response continuum rather than a discrete clinical syndrome.