The latent structure of post-traumatic stress disorder among Arabic-speaking refugees receiving psychiatric treatment in Denmark

​Erik Vindbjerg, Jessica Carlsson, Erik Lykke Mortensen, Ask Elklit, Guido Makransky

BMC Psychiatry (2016) 16:309. DOI 10.1186/s12888-016-0936-0.


Background: Refugees are known to have high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although recent years have seen an increase in the number of refugees from Arabic speaking countries in the Middle East, no study so far has validated the construct of PTSD in an Arabic speaking sample of refugees.

Methods: Responses to the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) were obtained from 409 Arabic-speaking refugees diagnosed with PTSD and undergoing treatment in Denmark. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test and compare five alternative models.

Results: All four- and five-factor models provided sufficient fit indices. However, a combination of excessively small clusters, and a case of mistranslation in the official Arabic translation of the HTQ, rendered results two of the models inadmissible. A post hoc analysis revealed that a simpler factor structure is supported, once local dependence is addressed.

Conclusions: Overall, the construct of PTSD is supported in this sample of Arabic-speaking refugees. Apart from pursuing maximum fit, future studies may wish to test simpler, potentially more stable models, which allow a more informative analysis of individual items.

Keywords: Cross-cultural, Refugees, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Factor analysis


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