Sensitivity and specificity of the PTSD checklist in detecting PTSD in female veterans in primary care

J Trauma Stress. 2003 Jun;16(3):257-64. doi: 10.1023/A:1023796007788.


PTSD affects a substantial number of women in medical settings and is associated with significant distress and impairment. There are effective methods of treating trauma-related distress, but a minority seek such care. Thus, primary care is an important setting in which to identify individuals with PTSD. We sent questionnaires, including the PTSD Checklist--Civilian Version (PCL-C), to 419 female veterans who were seen in our primary care clinic in 1998; 56% (N = 221) returned the measures. A random subset (n = 49) was interviewed to establish psychiatric diagnoses. The results provide qualified support for the use of the PCL-C total score with a lowered cutoff score as a screening measure for PTSD in female veterans in primary care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Women's Health