A Bifactor Evaluation of Self-Report and Clinician-Administered Measures of PTSD in Veterans

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title



The PTSD Checklist for (PCL-5) and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for (CAPS-5) are two of the most widely used and well-validated PTSD measures providing total and subscale scores that correspond with PTSD symptoms. However, there is little information about the utility of subscale scores above and beyond the total score for either measure. The current study compared the proposed four-factor model to a bifactor model across both measures using a sample of veterans ( = 1,240) presenting to a Veterans Affairs (VA) PTSD specialty clinic. The correlated factors and bifactor models for both measures evidenced marginal-to-acceptable fit and were retained for further evaluation. Bifactor specific indices suggested that both measures exhibited a strong general factor but weak lower-order factors. Structural regressions revealed that most of the lower-order factors provided little utility in predicting relevant outcomes. Although additional research is needed to make definitive statements about the utility of PCL-5 and CAPS-5 subscales, study findings point to numerous weaknesses. As such, caution should be exercised when using or interpreting subscale scores in future research.

PubMed ID


This document is currently not available here.