Objective: Meeting criterion A2 for the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in DSM-IV requires that an individual have high levels of distress during or after the traumatic event. Because of the paucity of valid and reliable instruments for assessing such responses, the authors developed a 13-item self-report measure, the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory, to obtain a quantitative measure of the level of distress experienced during and immediately after a traumatic event.
Method: The cross-sectional study group comprised 702 police officers and 301 matched nonpolice comparison subjects varying in ethnicity and gender who were exposed to a wide range of critical incidents.
Results: The Peritraumatic Distress Inventory was found to be internally consistent, with good test-retest reliability and good convergent and divergent validity. Even after controlling for peritraumatic dissociation and for general psychopathology, the authors found that Peritraumatic Distress Inventory scores correlated with two measures of posttraumatic stress symptoms.
Conclusions: The Peritraumatic Distress Inventory holds promise as a measure of PTSD criterion A2. Future studies should prospectively examine the ability of the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory to predict PTSD and its associated biological and cognitive correlates in other trauma-exposed groups.