Assessing a dysphoric arousal model of acute stress disorder symptoms in a clinical sample of rape and bank robbery victims

Hansen, Maj; Armour, Cherie; Elklit, Ask
January 2012
European Journal of Psychotraumatology;2012, Vol. 3, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: Since the introduction of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) into the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) research has focused on the ability of ASD to predict PTSD rather than focusing on addressing ASD's underlying latent structure. The few existing confirmatory factor analytic (CFA) studies of ASD have failed to reach a clear consensus regarding ASD's underlying dimensionality. Although, the discrepancy in the results may be due to varying ASD prevalence rates, it remains possible that the model capturing the latent structure of ASD has not yet been put forward. One such model may be a replication of a new five-factor model of PTSD, which separates the arousal symptom cluster into Dysphoric and Anxious Arousal. Given the pending DSM-5, uncovering ASD's latent structure is more pertinent than ever. Objective: Using CFA, four different models of the latent structure of ASD were specified and tested: the proposed DSM-5 model, the DSM-IV model, a three factor model, and a five factor model separating the arousal symptom cluster. Method: The analyses were based on a combined sample of rape and bank robbery victims, who all met the diagnostic criteria for ASD (N=404) using the Acute Stress Disorder Scale. Results: The results showed that the five factor model provided the best fit to the data. Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that the dimensionality of ASD may be best characterized as a five factor structure which separates dysphoric and anxious arousal items into two separate factors, akin to recent research on PTSD's latent structure. Thus, the current study adds to the debate about how ASD should be conceptualized in the pending DSM-5.


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