Recounting Trauma: Adjusting for Differences in Extreme Responding on PTSD Measures Between Pan-Ethnic Groups in the United States and Mexico
Background: Psychological measurements often ask respondents to select their answer choice from several ranked options. Scale usage is affected by many factors, including culturally socialized response styles, such as extreme responding. If unaccounted for, systematic extreme responding could skew scores, affecting both research and clinical assessment. Method: Extreme responding was operationalized by tallying endpoint responses on two measures related to but distinct from the target construct, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptom severity. Extreme responding was assessed among a gender-balanced sample of 1,820 participants: 936 in the U.S. (n = 312 Black; n = 312 Latinx; n = 304 White) and 884 in Mexico (n = 607 mestizo/a; n = 277 Indígeno/a). Results: Contrary to expectations, Mexican participants demonstrated less extreme responding than U.S. participants, driven by high levels of this response style among Black participants in the U.S. Extreme responding predicted PTSD scores beyond the contributions of environmental and sociodemographic factors. Two methods to account for the effects of extreme responding were attempted. Following ipsatization, intergroup differences remained significant; truncating scoring removed national differences in PCL-5 scores, but not all pan-ethnic differences. Discussion: Culturally influenced response styles, including extreme responding, represent an important source of potential measurement error. However, methods to assess and account for this form of bias have not yet been standardized, and questions remain as to the proportion of valid interpersonal variance that may be lost to standardization procedures. Future work is required to incorporate cultural response style into assessments in both research and clinical contexts.
Psychology|Clinical psychology|Social psychology
Zolopa, Camille Simone, "Recounting Trauma: Adjusting for Differences in Extreme Responding on PTSD Measures Between Pan-Ethnic Groups in the United States and Mexico" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30426076.