[A brief instrument for the assessment of childhood abuse and neglect: the childhood trauma screener (CTS)]

Psychiatr Prax. 2012 Apr;39(3):109-15. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1298984. Epub 2012 Mar 15.
[Article in German]


Objective: There is a lack of a psychometrically sound screening questionnaire that assesses important dimensions of traumatic experiences during childhood and adolescence in a time-efficient way. Based on the German version of the "Childhood Trauma Questionnaire" (CTQ, 28 items) we developed a five-item self-report childhood trauma screener (CTS) that covers sexual, emotional and physical abuse and emotional and physical neglect.

Method: The data set of the SHIP-LEGEND study (n = 1668) was used to extract five items of the CTQ that optimally covered the five dimensions and showed a high correlation with the total score. In two validation samples (clinical sample [n = 211] and subjects from the BiDirect study [n = 288]) the psychometric properties of the CTS were evaluated.

Results: The correlations between the five CTS Items and the corresponding dimensions from the CTQ were r = 0.55 to 0.87 (p < 0.0001) within the clinical sample. Furthermore, we found high correlations (r = 0.88; p < 0.0001) with the total CTQ score. The internal consistency was 0.757 (Cronbachs α).

Conclusion: The CTS is a reliable, valid and economic screener for the retrospective assessment of adverse childhood experiences especially in large epidemiological studies.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Female
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / genetics
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult