SSWR Doctoral Student Spotlight

The SSWR Doctoral Student Members Task Force is launching a new series featuring research conducted by doctoral students. The series is intended to bring awareness and attention to the research being done by social work doctoral students, as well as important issues in the field. One spotlight piece will be featured each week on the SSWR Doctoral Student Member Blog & Facebook Page during the spring 2019 semester. 

Examining the DSM-5 Latent Structures of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a National Sample of Student Veterans

Student Researcher: Malisa M. Brooks, University of Utah

Malisa M. Brooks

Malisa M. Brooks

About the Researcher: As a 2nd year doctoral student, my research interests include the assessment and treatment of sexual trauma in civilian and military populations, posttraumatic stress disorder, and using translational research to bridge research and clinical practice communities to improve treatment outcomes for trauma survivors. In my free time I play softball and basketball, and hike in the Wasatch Mountains with my 3 kids.

Description of the Study: This study conducted a confirmatory factor analysis to examine the latent structures of posttraumatic stress disorder on a national sample of student veterans; a population which had not yet been examined in this context. Multiple models were tested to see which would emerge (quantitatively) as "best-fitting" for this specific population.

Inspiration for the Study: This study began as an assignment for my SEM course, but as we began getting unexpected results, it turned into a much larger (and long term) project.

Methodological Approach: Survey data were gathered using Qualtrics Online Survey Software and analyzed for descriptive statistics using SPSS version 25. Mplus was used for confirmatory factor analysis.

Challenges Encountered: Learning to trust myself, my training/skill set, and the process was more challenging than I expected. Just because unexpected results are found, doesn't mean they are wrong; sometimes we are just breaking new ground!

Questions or comments for Malisa? Email her at: