Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is frequently associated with neuropsychiatric impairments such as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be screened using self-report instruments such as the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). The current study aims to inspect the factorial validity and cross-linguistic equivalence of the PCL-5 in individuals after TBI with differential severity. Data for six language groups (n >= 200; Dutch, English, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish) were extracted from the CENTER-TBI study database. Factorial validity of PTSD was evaluated using confirmatory factor analyses (CFA), and compared between four concurrent structural models. A multi-group CFA approach was utilized to investigate the measurement invariance (MI) of the PCL-5 across languages. All structural models showed satisfactory goodness-of-fit with small between-model variation. The original DSM-5 model for PTSD provided solid evidence of MI across the language groups. The current study underlines the validity of the clinical DSM-5 conceptualization of PTSD and demonstrates the comparability of PCL-5 symptom scores between language versions in individuals after TBI. Future studies should apply MI methods to other sociodemographic (e.g., age, gender) and injury-related (e.g., TBI severity) characteristics to improve the monitoring and clinical care of individuals suffering from PTSD symptoms after TBI.
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