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Combat Exposure Scale (CES)


Combat Exposure Scale (CES)

Keane, Fairbank, Caddell, Zimering, Taylor, & Mora, 1989


The Combat Exposure Scale (CES) is a seven-item self-report measure that assesses wartime stressors experienced by combatants. Items are rated on a 5-point frequency (1 = “no” or “never” to 5 = “more than 50 times”), 5-point duration (1 = “never” to 5 = “more than 6 months”), 4-point frequency (1 = “no” to 4 = “more than 12 times”) or 4-point degree of loss (1 = “no one” to 4 = “more than 50%”) scale.

Respondents are asked to respond based on their exposure to various combat situations, such as firing rounds at the enemy and being on dangerous duty. The total CES score (ranging from 0 - 41) is calculated by using a sum of weighted scores, which can be classified into one of five categories of combat exposure ranging from “light” to “heavy.” The CES was developed to be easily administered and scored and is useful in both research and clinical settings.

Sample Item

Were you ever surrounded by the enemy? (1 = "no" to 5 = "more than 12 times").


Keane, T., Fairbank, J., Caddell, J., Zimering, R., Taylor, K., & Mora, C. (1989). Clinical evaluation of a measure to assess combat exposure. Psychological Assessment, 1, 53-55.

To Obtain Scale

Download the The Combat Exposure Scale (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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