Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS) Popular

The Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS) is a self-report measure designed to assess the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder among children and adolescents, ages 8 to 18 (Foa, Johnson, Feeny & Treadwell, 2001).  The measure has a total of 24 items and includes two parts; the first has 17 items and measures the type and frequency of PTSD symptoms (mapping directly on to DSM-IV criteria), while the second has 7 items and measures the degree of functional impairment these symptoms cause.

This measure may be used by a trained practitioner as a diagnostic tool for PTSD (in the form of a semi-structured interview) or as a self-report measure.  Clinicians and therapists should allow 20 minutes to administer the CPSS as an interview measure or 10 minutes for a respondent to complete it as a self-report measure.  Both English and Spanish versions are available.

The CPSS is an adaptation of The PTSD Symptom Scale (PSS) (Foa, Riggs, Dancu, & Rothbaum, 1993), which has been used to assess symptom severity in US and non-US populations.

Tool

Administration Method
Number of Questions
24
Creator(s) of Tool
Foa, E. B., Johnson, K. M., Feeny, N. C., & Treadwell, K. R. (2001). The Child PTSD Symptom Scale: A preliminary examination of its psychometric properties. Journal of clinical child psychology, 30(3), 376-384.

http://www.istss.org/ChildPTSDSymptomScale.htm
Scoring / Benchmarking
In the first part of the questionnaire, respondents are asked to "fill in the number that best describes how often that problem has bothered [him/her] IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS."

A total score for the 17 items corresponding to the DSM-IV criteria is rated on a scale from 0 to 3 (0=not at all; 1= once a week or less/once in a while; 2=2 to 4 times a week/half the time; and 3=5 or more times a week/almost always). Therefore, the range of the total score is 0 to 51. Higher scores indicating more severe symptoms. A clinical cutoff of 15 or greater is appropriate for diagnosing PTSD.

Scores for the functional impairment items (the last 7 questions) are scored dichotomously as absent (0) or present (1). Scores range from 0 -- 7, with higher scores indicating greater functional impairment.
Background / Quality
This measure shows strong preliminary psychometric properties (Hawkins & Radcliffe, 2006); a 2001 study (Foa, Johnson, Feeny, & Treadwell, 2001) found the tool to have strong internal consistency/reliability (Cronbach’s alpha=.70 - .89 for the total and subscales symptom scores) and good-to-excellent test-retest reliability (.84 for the total score, .85 for re-experiencing, .63 for avoidance and .76 for hyperarousal). Convergent and internal validity was also high.

Sources Cited

Foa, E. B., Johnson, K. M., Feeny, N. C., & Treadwell, K. R. (2001). The Child PTSD Symptom Scale: A preliminary examination of its psychometric properties. Journal of clinical child psychology, 30(3), 376-384.

Hawkins, S. S., & Radcliffe, J. (2006). Current measures of PTSD for children and adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31(4), 420-430.
Is there a cost associated with this tool?
No
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