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PTSD: National Center for PTSD


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The Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS)



This section is for Researchers, Providers, & Helpers

The Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS)

Foa, 2001


The CPSS is a 26-item self-report measure that assesses PTSD diagnostic criteria and symptom severity in children ages 8 to 18. It includes 2 event items, 17 symptom items, and 7 functional impairment items. Symptom items are rated on a 4-point frequency scale (0 = "not at all" to 3 = "5 or more times a week"). Functional impairment items are scored as 0 = "absent" or 1 = "present". The CPSS yields a total symptom severity scale score (ranging from 0 to 51) and a total severity-of-impairment score (ranging from 0 to 7). Scores can also be calculated for each of the three PTSD symptom clusters (i.e., B, C, and D).

Sample Items

The following are a few of the symptom items for this scale:

Circle the number that describes how often that problem has bothered you in the past month: Feeling upset when you think about it or hear about the event (for example, feeling scared, angry, sad, guilty, etc.).

(Areas of functioning items): Have the above problems gotten in the way of ... Relationships with your family (yes/no).


The CPSS is a child version of the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS; Foa et al., 1997). The language of the PDS was modified to incorporate developmentally appropriate language to maximize children's understanding of the items.


Foa, E. B., Johnson, K. M., Feeny, N. C., Treadwell, K. R. H. (2001). The Child PTSD Symptom Scale: A preliminary examination of its psychometric properties. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30, 376-384.

Additional Reviews

Ohan, J. L., Myers, K., Collett, B. R. (2002). Ten-year review of rating scales. IV: Scales assessing trauma and its effects. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41, 1401-22.

To Obtain Scale

Edna Foa, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania
3535 Market Street, 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 746-3327

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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