The critical warzone experiences (CWE) scale: initial psychometric properties and association with PTSD, anxiety, and depression

Psychiatry Res. 2014 Dec 30;220(3):1118-24. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.08.053. Epub 2014 Sep 6.


The objective of the present research was to develop and evaluate a critical warzone experiences (CWE) scale for use with Iraq/Afghanistan veterans. The psychometric properties of the CWE were evaluated across three independent samples of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans. Despite its brevity (7 items), the CWE exhibited good internal consistency (average α =0.83), good temporal stability (1-year test-retest reliability=0.73), good concurrent validity with lengthier measures of warzone experiences (average r=0.74), and a clear unidimensional factor structure (average factor loading=0.69). Study 2 confirmed the CWE׳s factor structure through confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modeling demonstrated a strong association between CWE and post-deployment mental health, β =0.49, p<0.001. Study 3 provided further support for the predictive validity of the CWE by demonstrating that it was associated with PTSD diagnosis, clinician-rated PTSD symptom severity, and global functional impairment in an independent sample of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans (average r=0.59). While replication of these findings in more diverse samples is needed, the preliminary evidence from these studies indicates that the CWE is a brief, reliable, and valid measure of critical warzone experiences among Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans.

Keywords: Anxiety; Assessment; Combat exposure; Depression; PTSD; Veterans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-*
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Combat Disorders / psychology*
  • Depression
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States
  • Veterans / psychology*