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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD)

 

Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD)

Prins, Ouimette, & Kimerling, 2003

Description

The PC-PTSD is a four-item screen that was designed for use in primary care and other medical settings, and is currently used to screen for PTSD in Veterans at the VA. The screen includes an introductory sentence to cue respondents to traumatic events. The authors suggest that in most circumstances the results of the PC-PTSD should be considered "positive" if a patient answers "yes" to any three items. Those screening positive should then be assessed with a structured interview for PTSD. The screen does not include a list of potentially traumatic events.

Scale

Instructions

In your life, have you ever had any experience that was so frightening, horrible, or upsetting that, in the past month, you:

  1. Have had nightmares about it or thought about it when you did not want to?

    YES / NO
  2. Tried hard not to think about it or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of it?

    YES / NO
  3. Were constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled?

    YES / NO
  4. Felt numb or detached from others, activities, or your surroundings?

    YES / NO

Current research suggests that the results of the PC-PTSD should be considered "positive" if a patient answers "yes" to any three items.

References

Prins, A., Ouimette, P., Kimerling, R., Cameron, R. P., Hugelshofer, D. S., Shaw-Hegwer, J., Thrailkill, A., Gusman, F.D., Sheikh, J. I. (2003). (PDF) The primary care PTSD screen (PC-PTSD): development and operating characteristics. Primary Care Psychiatry, 9, 9-14

Prins, A., Ouimette, P., Kimerling, R., Cameron, R. P., Hugelshofer, D. S., Shaw-Hegwer, J., Thrailkill, A., Gusman, F.D., Sheikh, J. I. (2004). The primary care PTSD screen (PC-PTSD): Corrigendum. Primary Care Psychiatry, 9, 151

Additional Reviews

Orsillo (2001) (PDF) p. 299

Orsillo, Susan M. (2001). Measures for acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. In M.M. Antony & S.M. Orsillo (Eds.), Practitioner's guide to empirically based measures of anxiety (pp. 255-307). New York: KluwerAcademic/Plenum. PILOTS ID 24368

Norris and Hamblen (2004) (PDF) p. 71

Norris, Fran H. & Hamblen, Jessica L. (2004). Standardized self-report measures of civilian trauma and PTSD. In J.P. Wilson, T.M. Keane & T. Martin (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD (pp. 63-102). New York: Guilford Press. PILOTS ID 18638

To Obtain Scale

Download the Primary Care PTSD Screen (PDF)

Measure availability: Information on measures is available to everyone. However, the assessment tools themselves can only be distributed to qualified mental health professionals and researchers. We maintain measures developed by affiliated staff of the National Center for PTSD.


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Where to Get Help for PTSD

Using the PILOTS database for Assessment Information
The PILOTS database is the largest electronic index to the world's literature on traumatic stress.

The National Center for PTSD does not provide direct clinical care, individual referrals or benefits information.