The Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS)

Author of Tool: 

Edna B. Foa, Ph.D.

Key references: 

Foa, E.B., Treadwell, K., Johnson, K., & Feeny, N. (2001). Child PTSD symptom scale (CPSS):
Validation of a measure for children with PTSD. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30,

Gillihan, S.J., Aderka, I.M., Conklin, P.H., Capaldi, S., & Foa, E.B. (In press). The Child PTSD
Symptom Scale: Psychometric Properties in a Sample of Female Adolescent Sexual Assault
Survivors. American Psychological Association.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The CPSS is used to assess post traumatic stress disorder severity in children between ages 8-18. It consists of 17 items in part 1 and 7 items in part 2. It takes approximately 20 minutes to administer as an interview measure (by a clinician or a therapist) and 10 minutes to complete as a self-report.


The Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS) maps on DSM-IV criteria, and yields a PTSD aggregate score as well as scores on the re-experiencing, avoidance and hyperarousal subscales. The CPSS comprises 24-items, 17 of which correspond to the DSM-IV symptoms. In the first section, answers are on a Likert-type scale where 0 is not at all, 1 is once a week or less/once in a while, 2 is 2 to 4 times a week/half the time, and 3 is 5 or more times a week/almost always. In the second part of the questionnaire, respondents are asked about functional impairment, or how much the problems indicated in section one have interfered with specific areas of life. These 7 questions are scored dichotomously as absent (0) or present (1). Scores range from 0 — 7, with higher scores indicating greater functional impairment.


See original article (Foa et al., 2001)



Microsoft Office document iconCPSS

Other Information: 

Version also available in Spanish.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):