Background: In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) there is a need for self-rating scales that are sensitive to treatment effects and have been tested in a broad range of trauma survivors. Separate measures of frequency and severity may also provide an advantage.
Methods: Three hundred and fifty-three men and women completed the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), a 17-item scale measuring each DSM-IV symptom of PTSD on 5-point frequency and severity scales. These subjects comprised war veterans, survivors of rape or hurricane and a mixed trauma group participating in a clinical trial. Other scales were included as validity checks as follows: Global ratings, SCL-90-R, Eysenck Scale, Impact of Event Scale and Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R.
Results: The scale demonstrated good test-retest reliability (r = 0.86), internal consistency (r = 0.99). One main factor emerged for severity and a smaller one for intrusion. In PTSD diagnosed subjects, and the factor structure more closely resembled the traditional grouping of symptoms. Concurrent validity was obtained against the SCID, with a diagnostic accuracy of 83% at a DTS score of 40. Good convergent and divergent validity was obtained. The DTS showed predictive validity against response to treatment, as well as being sensitive to treatment effects.
Conclusions: The DTS showed good reliability and validity, and offers promised as a scale which is particularly suited to assessing symptom severity, treatment outcome and in screening for the likely diagnosis of PTSD.