Development and validation of a brief self-report measure of trauma exposure: the Trauma History Screen

Psychol Assess. 2011 Jun;23(2):463-77. doi: 10.1037/a0022294.


Although information about individuals' exposure to highly stressful events such as traumatic stressors is often very useful for clinicians and researchers, available measures are too long and complex for use in many settings. The Trauma History Screen (THS) was developed to provide a very brief and easy-to-complete self-report measure of exposure to high magnitude stressor (HMS) events and of events associated with significant and persisting posttraumatic distress (PPD). The measure assesses the frequency of HMS and PPD events, and it provides detailed information about PPD events. Test-retest reliability was studied in four samples, and temporal stability was good to excellent for items and trauma types and excellent for overall HMS and PPD scores. Comprehensibility of items was supported by expert ratings of how well items appeared to be understood by participants with relatively low reading levels. In five samples, construct validity was supported by findings of strong convergent validity with a longer measure of trauma exposure and by correlations of HMS and PPD scores with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The psychometric properties of the THS appear to be comparable or better than longer and more complex measures of trauma exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Homeless Persons / psychology
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests* / standards
  • Rape / psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / psychology
  • Veterans / psychology
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology
  • Young Adult