We developed a 17-item scale to measure cognitive processing of traumatic experiences in two samples of college students. The Cognitive Processing of Trauma Scale (CPOTS) measures five aspects of cognitive processing: (1) Positive Cognitive Restructuring, (2) Downward comparison, (3) Resolution, (4) Denial and (5) Regrets. Confirmatory Factor Analysis confirmed the factor structure of the scale, and reliability was further established by computing the internal consistency and test–retest reliability of each subscale. Discriminant and convergent validity for the CPOTS were demonstrated by correlating the subscales with two existing measures, the Impact of Event Scale and the Stress Related Growth Scale. The scale is recommended for use in empirical studies incorporating written or spoken disclosure about a trauma as an intervention, and should also be considered for clinical use in populations who have experienced a major stressor or trauma. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.