Establishing Measurement Equivalence of MRSC Database Assessments Across Demographic Groups
Principal Investigator: 
Organization: 
Iowa State University

While many of the questions in the MSRC database are established mental health and suicide screening tools in civilian populations, most have not been verified using military samples. As such, it has yet to be determined if specific groups of service members ascribe similar meanings to questions and the general concepts assessed by these tools. Testing this assumption is called measurement equivalence/invariance (ME/I) testing and it is necessary to be able to generalize findings across different groups of people (i.e. civilians, military personnel, veterans, etc.). The testing of ME/I is also imperative in accurately relying on the results of statistical analyses, as most analyses rely on the assumptions that measures work equivalently across groups of participants.

With the diversity of the military (i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, military branch, active duty status) there is a need to establish ME/I within the MSRC database. The purpose of this testing is twofold. For one, it would determine whether the questions assessing suicide and related risk factors differ across groups of people (e.g., Gender, Branch, Active Duty, Race/Ethnicity, Deployment, Combat Experience). Secondly, it provides the opportunity to compare the shorter screening questionnaires used within the MSRC database to their longer, parent questionnaires that have already been tested and supported analytically within the field. This is important, as brief versions, should they be comparable and accurate, provide both researchers and clinicians a faster way of screening for suicidality and related risk factors.

This project will utilize archival data included in the MSRC database to conduct a series of analyses aimed at establishing the ME/I within the MSRC CDEs. This analysis will provide support for future use of the questions within the MSRC database among diverse military samples. Furthermore, it will examine potential differences among participant groups across these question sets, extending previous findings by identifying groups that display higher levels of suicide risk and enhancing the ability to target specific populations with prevention and outreach programming. Finally, examining the brief screening tools included in the MSRC database could provide additional support for the continued use of these shorter forms for both practitioners and researchers in the military.

No news on file at this time.