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PTSD: National Center for PTSD


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When Bad Things Happen Scale (WBTH)



This section is for Researchers, Providers, & Helpers

When Bad Things Happen Scale (WBTH)

Fletcher, 1991 & 1992


The WBTH scale is a 95-item self-report inventory. The questions in this scale exactly parallel the questions in the Childhood PTSD Interview and can be used as a complement to the interview. It includes 63 DSM-IV symptom items (3 - 6 per symptom) and 32 associated symptom items (2 - 5 questions per associated symptom).

Items are rated on a 3-point frequency scale ("Never", "Some", "Lots"). The WBTH yields a categorical diagnosis of PTSD as well as a continuous severity score (a scoring system template is provided with the scale). It has a third-grade reading level and includes a parent report version. It is appropriate for use in either a research or clinical setting.

Sample Items

  • Was the bad thing scary?
  • Does it bother you when things make you think of the bad thing?
  • Are you good at hiding your feelings since the bad thing happened?


Fletcher, K. (1996). Psychometric review of the When Bad Things Happen Scale (WBTH). In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Measurement of stress, trauma, and adaptation (pp. 435-437). Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press.

Additional Reviews

Nader, K. O. (2004). Assessing traumatic experiences in children and adolescents: Self-reports of DSM PTSD Criteria B-D symptoms. In J. Wilson & T. Keane (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD, 2nd ed. (pp. 513-537). New York: Guilford Press.

To Obtain Scale

Kenneth E. Fletcher, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
University of Massachusetts Medical Center
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655-0001
Phone: (508) 856-3329

Measure availability: We provide information on a variety of measures assessing trauma and PTSD. These measures are intended for use by qualified mental health professionals and researchers. Measures authored by National Center staff are available as direct downloads or by request. Measures developed outside of the National Center can be requested via contact information available on the information page for the specific measure.

Date this content was last updated is at the bottom of the page.

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