Structural Validity of the Tonic Immobility Scale in a Population Exposed to Trauma: Evidence from Two Large Brazilian SamplesReportar como inadecuado

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Tonic Immobility is a temporary state of motor inhibition in situations involving extreme fear. The first scale developed for its assessment was the 10-item Tonic Immobility Scale TIS. However, there are still few studies on its structural dimensional validity. The objective of this study was to reassess the factor structure of the TIS applied to representative samples exposed to general trauma of two Brazilian mega-cities.


The sample comprised 3,223 participants reporting at least one traumatic experience. In São Paulo n = 2,148, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis CFA first tested the originally proposed two-dimensional structure. This was followed by sequential Exploratory Structural Equation Models to identify the best fitting model, and subsequently tested in Rio de Janeiro n = 1,075 via CFA. Alternative reduced versions were further explored using the aggregate sample. Model-based Item Response Theory IRT location parameters were also investigated.


An absence of factor-based convergent and discriminant validity rejected the original proposition. However, the one-dimensional structure still held several residual correlations. Further exploration indicated the sustainability of reduced versions with seven alternative A and six alternative B items. Both presented excellent fit and no relevant residual item correlation. According to the IRT location parameters, items in alternative B covered a wider range of the latent trait. The Loevinger-s H scalability coefficients underscored this pattern.


The original model did not hold. A one-factor solution was the most tenable in both large samples, but with significant item residual correlations, indicating that content redundancies persisted. Further reduced and simplified versions of the TIS proved promising. Although studies are yet to be carried out in other settings, it is the authors- impression that the restricted versions of the TIS are already apt for use in epidemiologic studies since the pros tend to outweigh the cons as outlined in the Discussion section.

Autor: Michael Reichenheim , Wanderson Souza, Evandro Silva Freire Coutinho, Ivan Figueira, Maria Inês Quintana, Marcelo Feijó de Mell



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