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

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


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: 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.