Development and Validation of the Coping, Alcohol/Drugs, and Trauma Scale (CATS)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


This study was designed to develop and investigate the validity of a coping scale (Coping, Alcohol/Drugs, and Trauma Scale; CATS), which could be used to predict problematic alcohol and drug (AOD) use patterns among college women, based upon historical stressors. It was predicted that the CATS would have strong convergent validity with the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test-Revised (MAST-R), moderately strong convergent validity with the Coping Response Inventory - Avoidant Scale (CRI- Avoidant), and moderate convergent validity with the Traumatic Events Questionnaire (TEQ). Additionally, the CATS was expected to have strong correlations to binge drinking as measured by the Khavari Alcohol Index (KAI). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was completed to verify two separate, but related scales within the CATS (use of AOD to cope with daily stressors and use of AOD to cope with historical stressors).

Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was completed during Phase 1 of this study. Results of EFA determined two conceptually meaningful constructs underlying the CATS. Factor 1 was named CATS Trauma Thoughts and AOD Behaviors (CATS-T) while Factor 2 was named CATS Social Anxiety and AOD (CATS-A: Social Facilitation and AOD Beliefs). Internal consistency of the two-factor CATS was determined to be high (.90).

During Phase 2, a CFA analysis using maximum likelihood, oblique rotation confirmed the existence of a two-factor scale. Pearson r correlations were calculated to determine convergent and divergent validity. Results of Pearson r correlations indicated good convergent validity among the CATS, CATS Factor 1, CATS Factor 2, MAST-R, KAI, and the CRI-Avoidant Coping scale. Non-significant correlations between the CATS and the CRI-Active Coping scale and CATS Factors 1 and 2 and the CRI-Active Coping scale provided some support of divergent validity.

A series of Analyses of Variance (ANOVA) were used to detect group differences for construct validity. Significant group differences were found between the trauma group and the non-trauma regarding consequences of problematic substance use. No significant differences were found between groups when it came to binge drinking quantity and binge drinking frequency. Findings of an ANOVA testing the ability of CATS-T to detect differences between trauma and non-trauma groups, however, did indicate significant between group differences.

Correlations found in this study were weak to moderate (r = .15 to .50), therefore results should be analyzed with care so as not to be over-interpreted. Replication of this study is recommended to better determine the integrity of the statistical findings presented in this study. Finally, as CATS-A tended to be more specific to social anxiety issues, it would be worthwhile to attempt additional validation of the CATS utilizing a social anxiety measure and/or an AOD beliefs measure. Such replication might detect underlying constructs not found by the present study.

This document is currently not available here.