Capturing trafficking trauma: A proposed measure using principal component analysis
Using cross-sectional pilot data (n=73) from a post-trafficking project in Vietnam, we: (1) describe a method of computing a composite measure of trafficking trauma using principal component analysis (PCA); and (2) discuss the relationship between this measure of trafficking trauma and psychological symptoms, assessed via the 20-item Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ), and compared these results to those of selected individual abuses.
We assessed 18 (yes/no) items of abuse that are characteristic of the trafficking experience. We used exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to derive a parsimonious, reduced set of items, and then used factor loadings from the PCA of the reduced set to compute a composite Trafficking Abuse Score (TAS). Ordinary least squares regression analyses were used to examine the association between SRQ score and TAS as well as some individual abuses.
Findings from EFA yielded a 5-item set (physical-, emotional-, labor-, sexual abuse, and forced alcohol use) that had good reliability (ɑ=0.864). Participants’ Trafficking Abuse Score averaged at 1.58 (SD=1.46, range 0–3.71) and SRQ Score 8.3 symptoms (SD=4.2, range 0–20). Linear regression results showed that the associations between individual abuses and psychological symptoms varied, and that TAS was positively associated with SRQ Score (β=1.213; 95% CI 0.60–1.82).
The PCA-derived composite measure of trafficking trauma presented in this study accounts for the likely interactive effects of the multiple abuses that trafficked individuals experience. This and similar techniques should be explored in other studies, so that we can more comprehensively assess the trauma and its health consequences among trafficked populations.
Learning Areas:Public health or related research
Describe a method of computing a composite measure of trafficking trauma using principal component analysis Discuss the relationship between this measure of trafficking trauma and psychological symptoms, assessed via the 20-item Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ), and compared these results to those of selected individual abuses.
Keyword(s): Mental Health, Vulnerable Populations
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the study as part of my dissertation study, which has been approved by the faculty committee members at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.