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PTSD: National Center for PTSD


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Short Screening Scale for PTSD



This section is for Researchers, Providers, & Helpers

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

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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