The Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (SPTSS)

Author of Tool: 


Key references: 

Carlson, E. (2001). Psychometric study of a brief screen for PTSD: Assessing the impact of multiple traumatic events. Assessment, 8, 431-441.

Caspi, Y., Carlson, E. B., & Klein, E. (2007). Validation of a screening instrument for posttraumatic stress disorder in a community sample of bedouin men serving in the israeli defense forces.  Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 517-527. 

Primary use / Purpose: 

The SPTSS is a brief self-report screening instrument for PTSD symptoms.


The Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (SPTSS) is a brief screen, not based on a single-reported trauma model, that may aid researchers and clinicians in identifying persons who have high levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Items for the SPTSS are designed to closely match the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD except that symptoms are not linked to a particular stressor. Items are written in simple, colloquial language making the instrument suitable for use with a wide variety of populations. Caspi et al. (2007) highlight several advantages of the SPTSS including its not linking the symptoms to a specific event, which allows it to be used with individuals who have experienced multiple stressful events, its focus on frequency rather than distress, which may increase its utility with individuals hesitant to report vulnerable emotions, its low reading level requirement, and the short duration required for administration. Several versions of the SPTSS are available and inquire about the symptoms experienced over the past two or one weeks. Each version contains 17 items and uses either a 10-point or 5-point frequency rating scale. 


The psychometric properties of the instrument are examined in Carlson (2001) and Caspi, Carlson, & Klein (2007).



Other Information: 

Other keywords: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; PTSD; Stress

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):