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PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)
NeuroRehab Supplemental - Highly Recommended
Recommendations for Use: Indicated for studies requiring a measure of psychiatric/psychological status.
Short Description of Instrument
The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL) is a 20-item self- report measure of the DSM-V symptoms of PTSD. Respondents rate how much they were "bothered by a symptom" on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 ("not at all") to 4 ("extremely"). The measure takes 5-10 minutes to complete.
Proper administration requires that the test taker be able to respond meaningfully to the items. The test taker must be able to see, read, and comprehend the items. Average reading difficulty is about the 6th-grade level.
Unlike the PCL for DSM-IV which had three versions (military, civilian, and stressor specific), the PCL-5 has one version with three formats for administration.
Scoring and Psychometric Properties
The PCL provides a brief assessment of PTSD symptoms, can be used for diagnostic and severity purposes, and can be used to monitor change in response to treatment. It is in the public domain and is a widely used measure.
The PCL can be scored in two ways: a) a total score (range 0-80), or b) using differential symptom response to follow the DSM-V criteria. In the latter approach item ratings of 2 - 4 (Moderately or above) are considered symptomatic and DSM criteria are used for a diagnosis:
- Symptomatic response to at least 1 "B" item (Questions 1-5)
- Symptomatic response to at least 1 "C" items (Questions 6-7)
- Symptomatic response to at least 2 "D" items (Questions 8-14)
- Symptomatic response to at least 2 "E" items (Questions 15-20)
Blevins CA, Weathers FW, Davis MT, Witte TK, Domino JL. The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5): Development and Initial Psychometric Evaluation. J Trauma Stress. 2015 Dec;28(6):489-98.
Bovin MJ, Marx BP, Weathers FW, Gallagher MW, Rodriguez P, Schnurr PP, Keane TM. Psychometric properties of the PTSD Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (PCL-5) in veterans. Psychol Assess. 2016 Nov;28(11):1379-1391.
Weathers FW, Litz BT, Keane TM, Palmieri PA, Marx BP, Schnurr PP. (2013). The PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). Scale available from the National Center for PTSD at
Wortmann JH, Jordan AH, Weathers FW, Resick PA, Dondanville KA, Hall-Clark B, Foa EB, Young-McCaughan S, Yarvis JS, Hembree EA, Mintz J, Peterson AL, Litz BT. Psychometric analysis of the PTSD Checklist-5 (PCL-5) among treatment-seeking military service members. Psychol Assess. 2016 Nov;28(11):1392-1403.
Document last updated January 2022