The Life Events Checklist (LEC), a measure of exposure to potentially traumatic events, was developed at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) concurrently with the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) to facilitate the diagnosis of PTSD. Although the CAPS is recognized as the gold standard in PTSD symptom assessment, the psychometric soundness of the LEC has never been formally evaluated. The studies reported here describe the performance of the LEC in two samples: college undergraduates and combat veterans. The LEC exhibited adequate temporal stability, good convergence with an established measure of trauma history -- the Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire (TLEQ) -- and was comparable to the TLEQ in associations with variables known to be correlated with traumatic exposure in a sample of undergraduates. In a clinical sample of combat veterans, the LEC was significantly correlated, in the predicted directions, with measures of psychological distress and was strongly associated with PTSD symptoms.