Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Developing the Covert Traumatic Experience Scale (CoTES): A Retrospective Early Psychosocial Trauma Assessment Tool
by Vastardis, Tiffany E., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2019, 240; 27664090
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to develop and explore the factor structure of a retrospective assessment instrument designed to identify the presence of early covert traumas in an individual’s history. Covert traumas are those which are psychosocial, and often interpersonal, in nature (Altobelli, 2017). While a deficiency in the available body of research addressing such traumas currently exists, limited research suggests that experiences of such phenomena may affect individual potential across various domains of development, functioning, health, and well-being (van der Kolk, 2014). In addition, the residual effects of such traumas may exacerbate adverse adult outcomes, such as experiences of chronic pain, proclivities towards maladaptive forms of coping, and hindrances to academic and occupational performance and achievement (Felitti et al., 1998). Furthermore, some theorists propose that the impact of such traumas, especially when compounded, may cause more emotional harm than exposure to a single overtly traumatic event (Staggs, 2014).

Developed for administration in clinical, research, and educational settings, an initial scale of 45-items, touching upon 16 identified domains of covert trauma was designed, following a careful review of the available literature and consultation with both an Expert Panel and Focus Group. Data yielded from a convenience sample of N = 204 college undergraduates who took an on-line version of the CoTES measure was utilized for analysis. Preliminary KMO and Bartlett’s tests were run, deeming the model suitable for Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) with direct oblimin rotation with Kaiser Normalization was then applied, producing an eight-factor solution, loading 39 of the original 45 items. Together, these eight factors explained for 68.611% of the variance in the total scale. Items retained represented each of the originally identified domains of covert trauma, and internal consistency for the final scale was exceptional, at α = 0.957. While these results show promise for the CoTES as a useful, psychometrically robust instrument for future administration in both research and clinical settings, further analyses must be undertaken to confirm the CoTES model factor structure, objectively measure further aspects of reliability and validity, and to draw conclusions regarding the meaning of scores obtained from administration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gill, Carman S.
Commitee: Villares, Elizabeth, Emelianchik-Key, Kelly
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Counselor Education
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 81/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Assessment, Covert trauma, Evidence based practice, Exploratory factor analysis, Instrument design, Psychosocial trauma
Publication Number: 27664090
ISBN: 9781392847848
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