Predicting post-traumatic stress disorder: validation of the Trauma Screening Questionnaire in victims of assault

Psychol Med. 2007 Jan;37(1):143-50. doi: 10.1017/S0033291706008658. Epub 2006 Sep 7.


Background: No accurate means of determining which individuals will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event has yet been identified. This study aimed to determine the validity of the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ) in predicting the development of PTSD following assault.

Method: Five hundred and sixty-two individuals who presented to an emergency unit following assault completed the TSQ between 1 and 3 weeks later. The Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) was completed by the same individuals at 1 month and 6 months following assault to determine the presence of PTSD. The predictive power of the TSQ was determined by statistical tests.

Results: The TSQ was an effective means of predicting future PTSD, with a sensitivity of 0.85, specificity 0.89, negative predictive value (NPV) 0.98 and efficiency 0.90. The positive predictive value (PPV) was lower (0.48), probably as a result of the relatively low prevalence of PTSD at 1 month (11%) and 6 months (8%) following the assault.

Conclusions: This study suggests that the TSQ can be used between 1 and 3 weeks after assault to help identify individuals who will develop PTSD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crime Victims*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires