Screening for PTSD in a substance abuse sample: psychometric properties of a modified version of the PTSD Symptom Scale Self-Report. Posttraumatic stress disorder

J Trauma Stress. 1998 Apr;11(2):393-9. doi: 10.1023/A:1024467507565.


The high rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among substance use disorder (SUD) patients has been documented in research protocols, but there is evidence that it is markedly under-diagnosed in clinical settings. To address the need for a brief self-report measure to identify SUD patients who may benefit from further assessment and/or treatment for PTSD, the psychometric properties of a modified version of the PTSD Symptom Scale Self-Report (PSS-SR) were examined in a treatment-seeking SUD sample (N = 118). The modified version of the PSS-SR, which measures both frequency and severity of PTSD symptoms, demonstrated good internal consistency reliability and was correlated with other self-report measures of trauma-related symptomatology. Comparisons between a structured PTSD diagnostic interview and the modified PSS-SR indicated that 89% of the PTSD positive patients were correctly classified by the modified PSS-SR. The clinical relevance of these findings was discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological / standards
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*