The Child Stress Disorders Checklist-Short Form: a four-item scale of traumatic stress symptoms in children

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2010 May-Jun;32(3):321-7. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2010.01.009. Epub 2010 Feb 20.


Objective: To develop a user-friendly scale that measures traumatic stress responses in injured children. Though injured youth are at high risk for traumatic stress reactions and negative sequelae, there are limited options available for assessing risk, particularly in acute settings.

Method: Participants were children and adolescents (ages 6-18) hospitalized with burns or acute injuries (N=147). During hospitalization, parents and nurses completed the Child Stress Disorders Checklist (CSDC), a 36-item observer-report measure of traumatic stress symptoms. Other established measures of child traumatic stress were completed by parents and children during hospitalization and 3 months postinjury. A brief version of the CSDC was created using standard psychometric scale development techniques. The psychometric properties of the resultant scale were compared to those of the original CSDC.

Results: A four-item scale (CSDC-Short Form, CSDC-SF) emerged that demonstrated internal, interrater, and test-retest reliability and concurrent, discriminant, and predictive validity comparable to that of the full scale.

Conclusions: The CSDC-SF assesses traumatic stress reactions in injured children. Because the measure is very short and does not require specialized training for administration or interpretation, it may be a useful tool for providers who treat injured youth to identify those at risk for traumatic stress reactions.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Boston
  • Checklist / standards*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic, Acute / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*