Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Short Screening Scale for PTSD


Short Screening Scale for PTSD

Breslau, 1999


The Short Screening Scale for PTSD is a seven-item screen that was designed for all trauma survivors. The screen was empirically derived in the context of an epidemiological study of PTSD in an urban area of the United States. The seven items were those that most efficiently predicted PTSD diagnostic status.

The screen was designed to be administered after an assessment of trauma exposure. It consists of five avoidance items and two hyperarousal items. Respondents rate each item as either "yes" or "no" and the screen is scored by adding the number of "yes" responses. The authors suggest a cutoff score of four for this screen. Those screening positive should then be assessed with a structured interview for PTSD.

Sample Items

  • Did you avoid being reminded of this experience by staying away from certain places, people, or activities?
  • After this experience were you having more trouble than usual falling asleep or staying asleep?


Breslau, N., Peterson, E.L., Kessler, R.C., Schultz, L.R. (1999). Short screening scale for DSM-IV post-traumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 908-11.

To Obtain Scale

See article: Bohnert, KM., Breslau, N. (2011), Assessing the performance of the short screening scale for post-traumatic stress disorder in a large nationally-representative survey. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 20(1), e1-e5. Published online in Wiley Online Library doi: 10.1002/mpr.331

Measures 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.

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

Share this page

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.

*Link will take you outside the VA website. VA is not responsible for the content of the linked site.