Development and preliminary validation of a brief broad-spectrum measure of trauma exposure: the Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire

Psychol Assess. 2000 Jun;12(2):210-24. doi: 10.1037//1040-3590.12.2.210.


This article describes the development and preliminary validation of a brief questionnaire that assesses exposure to a broad range of potentially traumatic events. Items were generated from multiple sources of information. Events were described in behaviorally descriptive terms, consistent with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV posttraumatic stress disorder stressor criterion A1. When events were endorsed, respondents were asked if they experienced intense fear, helplessness, or horror (stressor criterion A2). In separate studies with college students, Vietnam veterans, battered women, and residents of a substance abuse program, most items possessed adequate to excellent temporal stability. In a study comparing questionnaire and structured-interview inquiries of trauma history, the 2 formats yielded similar rates of disclosure. Preliminary data on positive predictive power are also presented.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Trauma Severity Indices