Psychometric Validation of the English and French Versions of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)

PLoS One. 2016 Oct 10;11(10):e0161645. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161645. eCollection 2016.


The purpose of this study is to assess the psychometric properties of a French version of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), a self-report measure of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and to further validate the existing English version of the measure. Undergraduate students (n = 838 English, n = 262 French) completed the PCL-5 as well as other self-report symptom measures of PTSD and depression online. Both the English and French versions PCL-5 total scores demonstrated excellent internal consistency (English: α = .95; French: α = .94), and strong convergent and divergent validity. Strong internal consistency was also observed for each of the four subscales for each version (α's > .79). Test-retest reliability for the French version of the measure was also very good (r = .89). Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the four-factor DSM-5 model was not a good fit of the data. The seven-factor hybrid model best fit the data in each sample, but was only marginally superior to the six-factor anhedonia model. The French version of the PCL-5 demonstrated the same psychometric qualities as both the English version of the same measure and previous versions of the PCL. Thus clinicians serving French-speaking clients now have access to this highly used screening instrument. With regards to the structural validity of the PCL-5 and of the new PTSD diagnostic structure of the DSM-5, additional research is warranted. Replication of our results in clinical samples is much needed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Checklist*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Report*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.