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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist


Post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) is a very serious anxiety disorder that generally develops after one has seen or experienced anything that can result in severe psychological trauma. As a result of that trauma, a person’s inability to cope with what they witnessed may ultimately lead to this condition in which sufferers are continuously incapable of coming to terms with what they saw.

As per the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, here is what the checklist for PTSD verification looks like:

The PCL is a 17-item self-report measure of the 17 DSM-IV symptoms of PTSD. The PCL has a variety of purposes, including:
 Screening individuals for PTSD.
 Diagnosing PTSD.
 Monitoring symptom change during and after treatment.
There are three versions of the PCL:
1. The PCL-M (military) asks about symptoms in response to "stressful military experiences." It is often used with active service members and Veterans.
2. The PCL-C (civilian) asks about symptoms in relation to "stressful experiences." The PCL-C is useful because it can be used with any population. The symptoms endorsed may not be specific to just one event, which can be helpful when assessing survivors who have symptoms due to multiple events. Typically, it is optimal to assess traumatic event exposure to ensure that a respondent has experienced at least one Criterion A event.
3. The PCL-S (specific) asks about symptoms in relation to an identified "stressful experience." The PCL-S is useful because the symptoms endorsed are clearly linked to a specified event. Typically, it is optimal to assess traumatic event exposure to ensure that the event meets Criterion A. Respondents also may be instructed to complete the PCL-S in reference to a specific type of event.
Administration and scoring
The PCL is a self-report measure that can be completed by patients in a waiting room prior to a session or by participants as part of a research study. It takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete a PCL. Interpretation of the PCL should be completed by a clinician.
The PCL can be scored in different ways:
 A total symptom severity score (range = 17-85) can be obtained by summing the scores from each of the 17 items.
 A diagnosis can be made by:
1. Determining whether an individual meets DSM-IV symptom criteria, i.e., at least 1 B item (questions 1-5), 3 C items (questions 6-12), and at least 2 D items (questions 13-17). Symptoms rated as "Moderately" or above (responses 3 through 5) are counted as present.
2. Determining whether the total severity score exceeds a given cutpoint (see Table 1).
3. Combining methods (1) and (2) to ensure that an individual has sufficient severity as well as the necessary pattern of symptoms required by the DSM.
Characteristics of a respondent's setting should be considered when using PCL severity scores to make a diagnosis. The goal of assessment also should be considered. A lower cutoff should be considered when screening or when it is desirable to maximize detection of possible cases. A higher cutoff should be considered when attempting to make a definitive diagnosis or to minimize false positives. Suggested cutoffs are presented below.
Table 1. Suggested cutoff scores for screening and diagnosis
Goal of Assessment
Setting Screening Diagnosis
VA PTSD specialty mental health clinic(1) 48 56
VA primary care clinic(1) 25 33
Active duty Iraq/Afghanistan (OEF/OIF)(2) 25 28
Civilian substance abuse residential(3) 36 44
Civilian primary care(4-5) 25 30-38
Civilian motor vehicle accidents(6) 44 50*
*Note that Blanchard et al. (6) chose a cutoff score of 44 for diagnosis based on diagnostic efficiency. However, the psychometrics they presented for a cutoff score of 50 yielded optimal sensitivity and specificity.
Measuring Change
Good clinical care requires that clinicians monitor patient progress. Evidence suggests that a 5-10 point change represents reliable change (i.e., change not due to chance) and a 10-20 point change represents clinically significant change. Therefore, we recommend using 5 points as a minimum threshold for determining whether an individual has responded to treatment and 10 points as a minimum threshold for determining whether the improvement is clinically meaningful (7).
Sample Items
In the past month, how much have you been bothered by:
 PCL-C: "Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts or images of a stressful experience from the past?"
 PCL-S: "Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts or images of the (stressful experience)?"
 PCL-M: "Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts or images of a stressful military experience?"
1 = Not at all to 5 = Extremely

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