Assessing the underlying dimensionality of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms in Chinese adolescents surviving the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake

Li Wang*, Lingmin Zhang, Cherie Armour, Chengqi Cao, Yulan Qing, Jianxin Zhang, Ping Liu, Biao Zhang, Qi Wu, Zhihong Zhao, Gaolin Fan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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By analyzing data yielded from a sample of Chinese adolescents surviving a high-intensity earthquake, this study investigated the underlying dimensionality of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms. The sample included 743 traumatized middle school students (396 females and 332 males) aged 11-17 years (mean=13.6, SD=1.0). Results of confirmatory factor analysis showed that an intercorrelated seven-factor model comprised of intrusion, avoidance, negative affect, anhedonia, externalizing behaviors, anxious arousal, and dysphoric arousal factors provided a significant better representation of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms than other alternative models. Further analyses indicated that external measures of major depression disorder and panic disorder symptoms displayed unique associations with four PTSD factors. The findings provide further support for the newly proposed seven-factor model of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms, add to very limited empirical knowledge on the latent structure of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms among adolescents, and carry implications for further refinement of the current classifications of PTSD symptoms and further clinical practice and research on posttraumatic stress symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-97
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Early online date02 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2015



  • China
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • DSM-5
  • Earthquake
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

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