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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific reports

Publication Date





Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Waldweg 37A, 37073, Göttingen, Germany.


CENTER-TBI participants and investigators, Humans, Language, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Checklist, Brain Injuries, Traumatic