Synthesis of the psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL) military, civilian, and specific versions

Depress Anxiety. 2011 Jul;28(7):596-606. doi: 10.1002/da.20837. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


The posttraumatic stress disorder checklist is a commonly used measure, with military (PCL-M), civilian (PCL-C), and specific trauma (PCL-S) versions. This synthesis of the psychometric properties of all three versions found the PCL to be a well-validated measure. The PCL shows good temporal stability, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity. The majority of structural validity studies support four factor models. Little is available on discriminant validity and sensitivity to change. Strengths, limitations, and future research directions are discussed. Understanding the PCL's psychometric properties, strengths (e.g., items map on to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria), and limitations (e.g., may overestimate PTSD prevalence) will help clinicians and researchers make educated decisions regarding the appropriate use of this measure in their particular setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Checklist*
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Veterans / psychology*