Assessing posttraumatic stress in military service members: Improving efficiency and accuracy

Caitlin L. Fissette, Douglas K. Snyder, Christina Balderrama-Durbin, Steve Balsis, Jeffrey Cigrang, G. Wayne Talcott, JoLyn Tatum, Monty Baker, Daniel Cassidy, Scott Sonnek, Richard Heyman, Amy Slep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is assessed across many different populations and assessment contexts. However, measures of PTSD symptomatology often are not tailored to meet the needs and demands of these different populations and settings. In order to develop population- and context-specific measures of PTSD it is useful first to examine the item-level functioning of existing assessment methods. One such assessment measure is the 17-item PTSD Checklist-Military version (PCL-M; Weathers, Litz, Herman, Huska, and Keane, 1993). Although the PCL-M is widely used in both military and veteran health-care settings, it is limited by interpretations based on aggregate scores that ignore variability in item endorsement rates and relatedness to PTSD. Based on item response theory, this study conducted 2-parameter logistic analyses of the PCL-M in a sample of 196 service members returning from a yearlong, high-risk deployment to Iraq. Results confirmed substantial variability across items both in terms of their relatedness to PTSD and their likelihood of endorsement at any given level of PTSD. The test information curve for the full 17-item PCL-M peaked sharply at a value of Θ=0.71, reflecting greatest information at approximately the 76th percentile level of underlying PTSD symptom levels in this sample. Implications of findings are discussed as they relate to identifying more efficient, accurate subsets of items tailored to military service members as well as other specific populations and evaluation contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Assessment
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Population
Veterans Health
Iraq
Weather
Checklist
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • Item response theory (IRT)
  • Military
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Ptsd checklist
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Fissette, C. L., Snyder, D. K., Balderrama-Durbin, C., Balsis, S., Cigrang, J., Talcott, G. W., ... Slep, A. (2014). Assessing posttraumatic stress in military service members: Improving efficiency and accuracy. Psychological Assessment, 26(1), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034315

Assessing posttraumatic stress in military service members : Improving efficiency and accuracy. / Fissette, Caitlin L.; Snyder, Douglas K.; Balderrama-Durbin, Christina; Balsis, Steve; Cigrang, Jeffrey; Talcott, G. Wayne; Tatum, JoLyn; Baker, Monty; Cassidy, Daniel; Sonnek, Scott; Heyman, Richard; Slep, Amy.

In: Psychological Assessment, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2014, p. 1-7.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fissette, CL, Snyder, DK, Balderrama-Durbin, C, Balsis, S, Cigrang, J, Talcott, GW, Tatum, J, Baker, M, Cassidy, D, Sonnek, S, Heyman, R & Slep, A 2014, 'Assessing posttraumatic stress in military service members: Improving efficiency and accuracy', Psychological Assessment, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034315
Fissette CL, Snyder DK, Balderrama-Durbin C, Balsis S, Cigrang J, Talcott GW et al. Assessing posttraumatic stress in military service members: Improving efficiency and accuracy. Psychological Assessment. 2014;26(1):1-7. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034315
Fissette, Caitlin L. ; Snyder, Douglas K. ; Balderrama-Durbin, Christina ; Balsis, Steve ; Cigrang, Jeffrey ; Talcott, G. Wayne ; Tatum, JoLyn ; Baker, Monty ; Cassidy, Daniel ; Sonnek, Scott ; Heyman, Richard ; Slep, Amy. / Assessing posttraumatic stress in military service members : Improving efficiency and accuracy. In: Psychological Assessment. 2014 ; Vol. 26, No. 1. pp. 1-7.
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