The Penn Inventory is a 26-item self-report measure that assesses DSM-IV symptoms of PTSD. It can be used with clients with multiple traumatic experiences because symptoms are not keyed to any particular traumatic event. The response format resembles that of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) by having respondents endorse one statement from a series of four scaled sentences that best describes the degree, frequency, or intensity of their feelings during the past week.
Scores for each statements range from 0 to 3. The Penn does not assess all of the 17 DSM symptoms of PTSD and it includes items that are not directly related to DSM criteria (e.g., self-knowledge). The Penn yields a continuous total score (ranging from 0 to 78) reflecting severity of PTSD. A preliminary determination of PTSD diagnosis can be derived by using a cutoff score.
0 = I know someone nearby who really understands me.
1 = I'm not concerned whether anyone nearby really understands me.
2 = I'm worried because no one nearby really understands me.
3 = I'm very worried because no one nearby understands me at all.
(Respondents are asked to circle a number next to the one statement that best describes how they have been feeling.)
Hammarberg, M. (1992). Penn Inventory for posttraumatic stress disorder: Psychometric properties. Psychological Assessment, 4, 67-76. (NOTE: Includes measure in its entirety.)
Hammarberg, M. (1996). Psychometric review of the Penn Inventory for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Measurement of stress, trauma, and adaptation (pp. 231-235). Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press. (NOTE: Includes measure in its entirety.)
Orsillo (2001) (PDF) p. 277.
Orsillo, Susan M. (2001). Measures for acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. In M.M. Antony & S.M. Orsillo (Eds.), Practitioner's guide to empirically based measures of anxiety (pp. 255-307). New York: KluwerAcademic/Plenum. PILOTS ID 24368
Norris and Hamblen (2004) (PDF) p. 85.
Norris, Fran H. & Hamblen, Jessica L. (2004). Standardized self-report measures of civilian trauma and PTSD. In J.P. Wilson, T.M. Keane & T. Martin (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD (pp. 63-102). New York: Guilford Press. PILOTS ID 18638
Melvyn Hammarberg, PhD
Department of Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania
325 University Museum
33rd and Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398
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.
The National Center for PTSD does not provide direct clinical care, individual referrals or benefits information.
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Using the PILOTS database for Assessment Information
The PILOTS database is the largest electronic index to the world's literature on traumatic stress.
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Last updated November 5, 2013