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Comprehensive Guide to PTSD Assessment Instruments

Introduction to PTSD Assessment Instruments:

Accurate and comprehensive assessment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a fundamental aspect of clinical practice. Effective evaluation helps clinicians determine appropriate treatment options, monitor progress, and gauge treatment outcomes. The assessment instruments for PTSD can be broadly categorized into two types: interview-based tools and self-report measures. These tools have been developed and validated to provide reliable and valid assessments of PTSD symptoms and are essential for evidence-based practice.

Interview-Based Assessment Tools

Interview-based tools are structured, or semi-structured interviews administered by clinicians to evaluate the presence and severity of PTSD symptoms based on diagnostic criteria such as the DSM-5. These instruments allow for detailed exploration of the patient's experiences and symptoms, providing a comprehensive assessment that informs diagnosis and treatment planning.




Administration Time

Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5)

30-item structured interview assessing PTSD symptoms based on DSM-5 criteria.

Diagnosis, symptom assessment over the past week, lifetime diagnosis.

45-60 minutes

PTSD Symptom Scale Interview (PSS-I and PSS-I-5)

17-item semi-structured interview for PTSD assessment.

Diagnosis, assessment of symptom severity over the past two weeks (PSS-I), past month (PSS-I-5).

20 minutes

Structured Clinical Interview for DSM (SCID-5) PTSD Module

Semi-structured interview for making major DSM-5 diagnoses, including PTSD.

Comprehensive diagnostic tool for PTSD and co-occurring disorders.

15 minutes to several hours

Structured Interview for PTSD (SIP or SI-PTSD)

Clinical interview assessing PTSD symptoms according to DSM-IV criteria.

Frequency and intensity of symptoms during the past four weeks or worst period ever.

20-30 minutes

Treatment-Outcome Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Scale (TOP-8)

8-item brief interview-based assessment of DSM-IV PTSD symptoms.

Measures treatment response, differentiates between drug and placebo effects.


Self-Report Instruments

Self-report measures are questionnaires completed by patients to assess their own PTSD symptoms. These instruments offer a convenient and time-efficient way to screen for PTSD, monitor symptom changes over time, and support preliminary diagnosis. Self-report tools are particularly useful in settings where quick assessments are needed and can complement clinician-administered evaluations.




Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS)

17-item Likert-scale self-report instrument assessing DSM-IV PTSD symptoms.

Preliminary diagnosis, frequency, and severity assessment.

Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R)

22-item self-report assessing distress from traumatic events.

Preliminary diagnosis, subjective distress evaluation.

Mississippi Scale for Combat-related PTSD (MISS or M-PTSD)

35-item self-report assessing combat-related PTSD in veterans and civilians.

PTSD assessment based on DSM-III criteria.

Modified PTSD Symptom Scale (MPSS-SR)

17-item self-report assessing DSM-III-R PTSD symptoms.

Preliminary diagnosis, continuous symptom severity measure.

PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)

20-item self-report screening tool for PTSD.

Screening, provisional diagnosis, monitoring symptom change.

PTSD Symptom Scale Self-Report Version (PSS-SR)

17-item Likert-scale self-report assessing DSM-IV PTSD symptoms.

Preliminary diagnosis, symptom severity assessment.

Short PTSD Rating Interview (SPRINT)

8-item self-report assessing core PTSD symptoms.

Symptom change over time, severity, and global improvement.


The comprehensive assessment of PTSD is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment planning. The tools summarized in these tables provide clinicians with validated and reliable options to evaluate PTSD symptoms accurately. Selecting the appropriate instrument based on the clinical scenario can significantly enhance patient outcomes and support evidence-based practice.



Please note that this guide (PTSD Assessment Instruments) is a review of available resources from APA and platforms. American PTSD Association is not responsible for the accuracy or use of these assessment instruments in clinical practice.

For more information go to: PTSD Assessment Instruments (



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