The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version: reliability, validity, and factor structure in a nonclinical sample

J Clin Psychol. 2012 Jun;68(6):699-713. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21845. Epub 2012 Apr 19.


Objectives: We examined the reliability, validity, and factor structure of the posttraumatic stress diorder (PTSD) Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C; Blanchard, Jones-Alexander, Buckley, & Forneris, 1996) among unselected undergraduate students.

Participants: Participants were 471 undergraduate students at a large university in the Eastern United States and were not preselected based on trauma history or symptom severity.

Results: The PCL-C demonstrated good internal consistency and retest reliability. Compared with alternative measures of PTSD, the PCL-C showed favorable patterns of convergent and discriminant validity. In contrast to previous research using samples with known trauma exposure, we found support for both 1-factor and 2-factor models of PTSD symptoms.

Conclusions: Overall, the PCL-C appears to be a valid and reliable measure of PTSD symptoms, even among nonclinical samples, and is superior to some alternative measures of PTSD. The factor structure among nonclinical samples may not reflect each of the PTSD symptom "clusters" (i.e., reexperiencing, avoidance/numbing, and hyperarousal).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Checklist / standards
  • Checklist / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Young Adult