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PTSD Symptom Scale - Interview (PSS-I) for DSM-IV

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PTSD Symptom Scale - Interview (PSS-I) for DSM-IV

Foa, Riggs, Dancu, & Rothbaum, 1993


The PSS-I is a 17-item semi-structured interview that assesses the presence and severity of DSM-IV PTSD symptoms related to a single identified traumatic event in individuals with a known trauma history. The PSS-I takes about 20 minutes to administer and can be administered by lay interviewers trained to recognize the clinical picture in traumatized persons. Each item is assessed with a brief, single question. There are no probes or follow up questions.

Interviewees are asked about symptoms they have experienced in the "past two weeks." This time frame differs from the standard one month time frame of other measures. For each item, the interviewer assigns a rating to reflect a combination of frequency and severity (from O = "not at all" to 3 = "5 or more times per week/very much").

Sample Item

Have you had recurrent or intrusive distressing thoughts or recollections about [the event]?

0 = not at all

1 = Once per week or less/a little bit
2 = 2-4 times per week/somewhat
3 = 5 or more times per week/very much


Foa, E., Riggs, D., Dancu, C., & Rothbaum, B.(1993). Reliability and validity of a brief instrument for assessing post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 6, 459-474. doi: 10.1007/BF00974317

Foa, E & Tolin, DF (2000). Comparison of the PTSD Symptom Scale-Interview Version and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13, 181-191. doi: 10.1023/A:1007781909213

To Obtain Scale

Edna Foa, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania
3535 Market Street 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 746-3327

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.

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Also see: VA Mental Health