Reliability and Concurrent Validity of Three Self-Report Measures of Trauma Exposure
Type of Degreethesis
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The DSM-IV-TR requires identification of a traumatic event in order for an individual to meet criteria for PTSD. There are currently many self-report measures designed to assess for exposure to traumatic events, but these measures differ widely in content, format, and in their implicit definition of the trauma construct. Many of the measures were developed on an ad-hoc basis and few have undergone rigorous psychometric evaluation. This study compared the test-retest reliability and concurrent validity of the three most widely used self-report measures of trauma exposure among a sample of undergraduate college students (N = 126) in a large Southeastern university. The study incorporated a between-groups, test-retest design in which participants completed one of the three measures twice over a 2 to 14 day interval. Participants also completed a detailed trauma history interview which served as a criterion against which results from the self-report measure were compared. All three measures demonstrated good temporal stability. However, each measure appeared to influence subsequent event reporting on the trauma history interview. These results emphasize the importance of understanding the characteristics of self-report measures of trauma exposure when selecting a measure for use in research or practice.