Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)
The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist has four different versions, the version which is most suitable in your case depends on either the psychiatric manual being used for the clinician, or the type of stressful experience that has/may have caused the problems you experience. The different PCL versions are:
- PCL-5 for PTSD diagnosis using the new DSM-5 psychiatric manual (released 2013)
- PCL-C for Civilians, for diagnosis using the DSM-IV psychiatric manual
- PCL-M for Military veterans or service personnel, for diagnosis using the DSM-IV psychiatric manual
- PCL-S for non-military use, based on a Specific very stressful event rather than multiple events, for diagnosis using the DSM-IV psychiatric manual ,,
PCL-5: Posttraumatic Checklist for DSM-5Instructions: There is one question about the stressful experience or event, followed by 20 multiple-choice questions below. These questions have been designed for adults. If you prefer you can download a printable version of this screening tool instead (external link). The questions below are from the PCL-5, which applies to all types of stressful experiences.
There are several different ways of interpreting the scores given by the PTSD Checklist-5. For a person to have a probable diagnosis of PTSD sufficient criteria must be at least moderately met in each of the four symptom groups. This means you need to have one or more symptoms from questions 1 to 5, either question 6 or 7, two or more from questions 8 to 14, and two or more from questions 15 to 20, each of which must be met moderately, quite a bit or extremely. In addition, a score of 38 or higher indicates probable PTSD in veterans; the score may be set higher or lower for civilians; no agreement has been reached yet since it was only developed after the DSM-5 was published in 2013. A lower cut off may be used for initial screening rather than probable diagnosis, the maximum score is 80. ,  For those people already diagnosed, it can be used to measure improvement (see below).
A definite diagnosis can only be given by a clinician, and depends on the details of the extremely stressful experience described at the top of the form and the effect on the individual, a clinician would also need to ask questions about the problems to check the person's understanding of each question and that the PTSD criteria are fully met. The PCL-5 scores are not comparable with scores from the PCL-C, PCL-M or PCL-S because the number of questions and points per question differ.
Measuring improvements in PTSDThe PCL5-PTSD tool can be used multiple times after diagnosis to assess the change in PTSD symptoms over time. A reduction of 5 points has been suggested to reflect a reliable reduction in symptoms, meaning the change is not caused by chance. This can be used to check if an individual's symptoms are responding to treatment. A 10-20 point reduction reflects clinically significant change. Back to top
1. Weathers, F. W., Litz, B. T., Keane, T. M., Palmieri, P. A., Marx, B. P., & Schnurr, P. P. (2014, February 5). PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). National Center for PTSD. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/assessment/adult-sr/ptsd-checklist.asp
2. Weathers, F. W., Litz, B. T., Herman, D., Huska, J., & Keane, T. (1994). The PTSD checklist-civilian version (PCL-C). Boston, MA: National Center for PTSD.
3. Weathers, F. W., Huska, J. A., & Keane, T. M. (1991). The PTSD checklist military version (PCL-M). Boston, MA: National Center for PTSD.
4. Weathers, F. W., Huska, J. A., & Keane, T. M. (1991). PCL-S for DSM-IV. Boston: National Center for PTSD–Behavioral Science Division.
5. Frewen, P. A., Brown, M. F., Steuwe, C., & Lanius, R. A. (2015). Latent profile analysis and principal axis factoring of the DSM-5 dissociative subtype. European journal of psychotraumatology, 6. PMC4390557.
Cite this pagePosttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist. Traumadissociation.com. Retrieved from .
The copyright for the questions, answers and scoring method belong to the original authors of the research. See references.
The remaining information can be copied or modified for any purpose, including commercially, provided a link back is included. License: CC BY-SA 4.0