The latent structure of posttraumatic stress disorder among adolescents

J Trauma Stress. 2009 Apr;22(2):146-52. doi: 10.1002/jts.20399.


Debate has arisen over whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most accurately conceptualized as representing a discrete clinical syndrome or an extreme reaction to traumatic life events. Recent taxometric research using predominantly adult samples appears to support a dimensional model of PTSD, raising questions about the utility of current psychiatric nosology which depicts PTSD as a distinct entity. The present study sought to use taxometric procedures to examine the latent structure of posttraumatic stress reactions among a national epidemiologic sample of 2,885 adolescents. Results were consistent with previous taxometric studies in supporting a dimensional model of posttraumatic stress reactions. The implications of these findings for public policy, as well as the etiology and assessment of posttraumatic stress reactions, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / classification*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology