Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Betty Lai

Second Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown


INTRODUCTION: Assessment tools that demonstrate adequate construct validity are needed to identify youth at risk of developing posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) so these at risk youth can be referred to appropriate resources such as counseling. Research on the construct validity of instruments designed to measure PTSS have not shown a consistent factor structure of PTSS. Furthermore, the factor structure of PTSS measured using the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC), a widely used instrument, have only been studied using principal component analysis (PCA), a data reduction technique, rather than exploratory factor analysis (EFA), a factor analytic technique.

AIM: The present study aims to 1) evaluate the construct validity of the TSCC using EFA, and 2) demonstrate differences in factor solutions extracted using EFA and PCA.

METHODS: A secondary data analysis was conducted on a sample of 121 adolescents exposed to community violence in a mid-sized southern city. Two factor analyses were conducted on the sample using EFA and PCA.

RESULTS: Using EFA, PTSS measured by the TSCC demonstrated a three factor structure. The factors were named the Posttraumatic Stress factor, Fear factor, and Sexual Concerns factor. Using PCA, five less interpretable components were extracted.

DISCUSSION: The factor structure of PTSS measured by the TSCC differed from currently proposed factor solutions in the PTSS literature, lending evidence that more EFA work is necessary to determine the factor structure of PTSS. As expected, there were also differences between the factor solutions produced using the two different analytic techniques. Future research is needed to confirm this factor solution in larger, more diverse samples.