Table of Contents
The Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
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- The Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
About Scale Name
The Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
The development of the Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (SPTSS; Carlson, 2001) aimed to create a measurement tool that does not require respondents to focus on a specific event or any event in particular. This characteristic makes the scale particularly valuable in situations where individuals may have encountered multiple traumatic experiences, which is quite common. While the SPTSS was not designed to provide a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), its items align with the 17 criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), with the exception that symptoms are not linked to a specific traumatic stressor.
In the SPTSS, participants rate their experience of each symptom using an 11-point scale, reflecting the intensity of their experiences within the past two weeks. The scale is scored by calculating the mean of all the items, resulting in potential scores ranging from 0 to 10. To assess its internal consistency, Carlson conducted a study involving 136 adult psychiatric inpatients, obtaining an alpha coefficient of .91 for the total scale. This high value suggests strong internal consistency within the items. Additionally, Carlson presented substantial evidence supporting the validity of the SPTSS.
In summary, the SPTSS was developed as a screening tool that allows respondents to assess posttraumatic stress symptoms without focusing on a specific traumatic event. Its items correspond to the DSM-IV criteria, but without the requirement of a particular stressor. With its high internal consistency and supporting evidence of validity, the SPTSS holds promise as a valuable instrument for evaluating posttraumatic stress symptoms in individuals who have experienced multiple traumas.
Administration, Scoring and Interpretation
Introduction: Introduce the purpose of the screening and provide any necessary instructions or explanations. Assure participants of the confidentiality of their responses.
Explanation of the scale: Describe the SPTSS as a measure to assess posttraumatic stress symptoms that does not require respondents to focus on a specific event. Emphasize that it aims to capture a broader range of symptoms experienced over the past two weeks.
Instructions: Instruct participants to rate their experience of each symptom based on an 11-point scale. Explain that they should indicate the intensity or severity of the symptom, with 0 representing no experience of the symptom and 10 representing an extremely intense experience of the symptom.
Item presentation: Present each item of the SPTSS, one at a time. Read the item aloud or display it on a screen, ensuring that participants understand the wording and meaning of the symptom. Allow participants sufficient time to consider their response.
Response recording: Provide participants with response sheets or electronic devices to record their ratings for each item. Alternatively, if administering the scale in person, you can directly record participants’ responses on a scoring sheet.
Completion and collection: Ensure that participants have responded to all items in the scale. Collect the response sheets or record the responses for further scoring and analysis.
Reliability and Validity
The Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (SPTSS) has been examined for its reliability and validity. Here is a summary of the available information regarding its psychometric properties:
Reliability: In a study by Carlson (2001), internal consistency reliability was assessed using the alpha coefficient for the total scale of the SPTSS. The study included 136 adult psychiatric inpatients, and the obtained alpha coefficient was .91. This high coefficient suggests strong internal consistency among the items of the scale, indicating that the items are measuring a similar construct.
Validity: Carlson (2001) also presented evidence supporting the validity of the SPTSS. Although the scale was not intended to provide a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the items were designed to match the 17 criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), with the exception that the symptoms are not linked to a specific traumatic stressor. This alignment with established criteria enhances the content validity of the scale.
It’s worth noting that while Carlson (2001) provided evidence of the reliability and content validity of the SPTSS, there may be limited information available on its other forms of validity (e.g., concurrent or predictive validity). Further research may be necessary to establish additional aspects of the scale’s validity and determine its performance across different populations and settings.
Carlson, E. B. (n.d.). Apa PsycNet. American Psychological Association. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Ft07492-000
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the purpose of the Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (SPTSS)?
A: The SPTSS is designed to assess posttraumatic stress symptoms in individuals without requiring them to focus on a specific traumatic event. It aims to capture a broader range of symptoms experienced over a specified time frame.
Q: How is the SPTSS different from other screening tools for posttraumatic stress?
A: The unique aspect of the SPTSS is that it does not require respondents to link their symptoms to a particular traumatic stressor. This characteristic makes it particularly useful in situations where individuals have experienced multiple traumas.
Q: How does the SPTSS work?
A: The SPTSS presents a series of items that correspond to the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Participants rate their experience of each symptom on an 11-point scale, reflecting the intensity of their symptoms over a specified time frame (e.g., past two weeks).
Q: What is the scoring method for the SPTSS?
A: The scale is scored by calculating the mean of all the items, resulting in a score that ranges from 0 to 10. A higher score indicates a higher average intensity of posttraumatic stress symptoms over the specified time frame.
Q: Is the SPTSS intended for diagnosing PTSD?
A: No, the SPTSS was not specifically developed to provide a diagnosis of PTSD. While its items align with the DSM criteria for PTSD, the scale does not require the symptoms to be linked to a particular traumatic stressor.
Q: What evidence supports the reliability and validity of the SPTSS?
A: The SPTSS has demonstrated high internal consistency reliability (alpha coefficient of .91) in a study involving adult psychiatric inpatients. Additionally, its items were designed to match the DSM criteria, enhancing the scale’s content validity. However, information on other forms of validity (e.g., concurrent or predictive validity) may be limited.
Q: Can the SPTSS be used with different populations?
A: The SPTSS has been studied with adult psychiatric inpatients. However, its performance and applicability to other populations, such as non-clinical samples or specific age groups, may require further investigation.
Q: Where can I find more information about the SPTSS?
A: The original source of information on the SPTSS is the study conducted by Carlson in 2001. Referring to that publication would provide more detailed information on the development, administration, and psychometric properties of the scale.
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