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Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5)



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Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5)

Frank W. Weathers, PhD; Dudley D. Blake, PhD; Paula P. Schnurr, PhD; Danny G. Kaloupek, PhD; Brian P. Marx, PhD; & Terence M. Keane, PhD


The Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) is a self-report measure designed to screen for potentially traumatic events in a respondent's lifetime. The LEC-5 assesses exposure to 16 events known to potentially result in PTSD or distress and includes one additional item assessing any other extraordinarily stressful event not captured in the first 16 items.

Changes from previous LEC for DSM-IV

The LEC was originally developed concurrently with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS) to be administered before the CAPS. The LEC demonstrated adequate psychometric properties as a stand-alone assessment of traumatic exposure, particularly when evaluating consistency of events that actually happened to a respondent.

The original LEC also demonstrated convergent validity with measures assessing varying levels of exposure to potentially traumatic events and psychopathology known to relate to traumatic exposure. However, the LEC did not establish that the respondent has experienced an event with sufficient severity to meet DSM-IV criteria for a traumatic exposure (Criterion A1), nor did it assess peritraumatic emotional experiences (Criterion A2).

Changes between the original LEC and LEC-5 are minimal:

  • Item 15 "Sudden, unexpected death of someone close to you" was changed to "Sudden accidental death"
  • Response category "Part of my job" was added

Psychometrics are not currently available for the LEC-5. Given the minimal revisions from the original version of the LEC, few psychometric differences are expected.


Three formats of the LEC-5 are available:

  • Standard self-report: to establish if an event occurred
  • Extended self-report: to establish worst event if more than one
  • Interview: to establish if Criterion A is met


For each item, the respondent checks:

  • Happened to me
  • Witnessed it
  • Learned about it
  • Part of my job
  • Not sure
  • Doesn't apply

Example Item

Event: Natural disaster (for example, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake)


Weathers, F.W., Blake, D.D., Schnurr, P.P., Kaloupek, D.G., Marx, B.P., & Keane, T.M. (2013). The Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5). Instrument available from the National Center for PTSD at

References (LEC for DSM-IV)

Gray, M., Litz, B., Hsu, J., & Lombardo, T. (2004). Psychometric properties of the Life Events Checklist. (PDF) Assessment, 11, 330-341. doi: 10.1177/1073191104269954

To Obtain Scale

Download the Life Events Checklist for DSM-5:

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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