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Diagnostic Screening Tools - Self-assessment questionnaires for PTSD and Dissociative Disorders.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Visit traumadissociation.com/Questionnaires ŧo try a set of screening tools for PTSD,  Dissociative Disorders,  trauma and abuse Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can only be diagnosed at least one month after a traumatic event, Acute Stress Disorder is a trauma disorder which can be diagnosed within days of the traumatic event but not more than a month after. [1]:272-274


The PC-PTSD is a screening tool for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder which is used by the United States Veterans Association.[2], [3] It has four questions and is used in primary care to assess whether a clinical interview for PTSD may be useful; it does not a definitive diagnosis of PTSD.[2],[3]


This is a PTSD Checklist which consists of 20 questions, and is designed to match the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. The older PCL-S, PCL-C, and PCL-M checklists are scored differently and assess PTSD symptoms according to the older DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. [4],[5] The PCL-5 is a screening tool, with a clinical interview needed to assess whether a traumatic stressor was present (criterion A), and whether the criteria were correctly interpreted by the person completing the questionnaire. PTSD can have a delayed onset, meaning that the full symptoms are not present until some time after the trauma. Adjustment disorder may be diagnosed instead if the event that caused the problems is considered a non-traumatic stressor.[1]:272-274

Dissociative Disorders and Dissociation

Steinberg Depersonalization Test

This questionnaire was developed by Marlene Steinberg, co-author of the book Stranger in the Mirror - Dissociation: The Hidden Epidemic and the Structured Clinical Interview for Dissociative Disorders.[7] The questionnaire consists of 18 questions and measures Depersonalization and Derealization. The questionnaire cannot be reproduced here due to copyright restrictions, but is available on Dr Steinberg's website.

Dissociative Experiences Scale

The Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) measures dissociative experiences, the most recent version is the DES-II. It is useful in identifying whether someone is likely to have a dissociative disorder. Some questions refer to Depersonalization and Derealization, others refer to Dissociative Identity Disorder and a few questions refer to normal, everyday dissociation that does not lead to problems.

Shutdown Dissociation Scale

The (Shut-D) measures the biological symptoms associated with freeze, fight/flight, fright, and flag/faint. It is based on the Shut-D semi-structured interview first published in 2011. The Shut-D scale is very new, it was first published in 2015, so it is not yet known if self-assessment results from the Shut-D scale are similar to results from a clinical interview.
It may be useful to assess trauma-based responses, which have been found to occur people with different mental health conditions, including Dissociative Disorders, PTSD, and people who have both a history of childhood trauma and Schizophrenia.

Trauma and Abuse

The Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire measures many different types of childhood event which have been linked to negative outcomes in adult life. These adverse events include not only major trauma and abuse, but also significant events that a person may experience in childhood such as parental divorce, or the death of a parent in non-traumatic circumstances. This tool for developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic after clinicians in a study first noticed that certain types of childhood experiences were more common in people with poorer physical and psychological health.[6]

Other Questionnaires

Depression: Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomology

This questionnaire consists of 16 questions, and is usedful to screen for Major Depressive Disorder (commonly known as clinical depression).

Results and Diagnosis

These tools cannot give you a clinical diagnosis because that can only be done by a trained clinician. Some of these questionnaires are screening tools for particular mental health disorders, and the result may indicate that you may have mental health condition, this can only be definitely confirmed by a clinical interview. If you meet some criteria but a clinician does not give the diagnosis then this could be because you do not fully meet the criteria for diagnosis, this is sometimes referred to as sub-syndrome. Alternatively, you can seek a second opinion from another clinician. Screening tools are not a replacement for advice from a medical/clinical professional.


  1. American Psychiatric Association, (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders : DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association. ISBN 9780890425541.
  2. Prins, A., Ouimette, P., Kimerling, R., Cameron, R. P., Hugelshofer, D. S., Shaw-Hegwer, J., Thrailkill, A., Gusman, F.D., Sheikh, J. I. (2003). The primary care PTSD screen (PC-PTSD): development and operating characteristics. Primary Care Psychiatry, 9, 9-14.
  3. Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD). (n.d.) Retrieved June 2, 2015, from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/assessment/screens/pc-ptsd.asp
  4. Weathers, F. W., Litz, B. T., Keane, T. M., Palmieri, P. A., Marx, B. P., & Schnurr, P. P. (2013). The PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). Scale available from the National Center for PTSD. www.​ptsd.​va.​gov
  5. 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
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. (2014, May 13). About the study: Adverse childhood experiences. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  7. Steinberg, M. (n.d.). Steinberg Depersonalization Test Questionnaire. Retrieved June 27, 2015, from http://www.strangerinthemirror.com/questionnaire.html

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