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Synthesis of the psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL) military, civilian, and specific versions

Authors

  • Kendall C. Wilkins B.A.,

    1. San Diego State University/University of California San Diego, Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, California
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  • Ariel J. Lang Ph.D.,

    1. San Diego State University/University of California San Diego, Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, California
    2. University of California, San Diego, VA San Diego Healthcare System and VA Center of Excellence in Stress and Mental Health, San Diego, California
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  • Sonya B. Norman Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. San Diego State University/University of California San Diego, Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, California
    2. University of California, San Diego, VA San Diego Healthcare System and VA Center of Excellence in Stress and Mental Health, San Diego, California
    • UCSD and VA San Diego Healthcare Systems, 3350 La Jolla Village Dr., MC: 116B, San Diego, CA 92161
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Abstract

The posttraumatic stress disorder checklist is a commonly used measure, with military (PCL-M), civilian (PCL-C), and specific trauma (PCL-S) versions. This synthesis of the psychometric properties of all three versions found the PCL to be a well-validated measure. The PCL shows good temporal stability, internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and convergent validity. The majority of structural validity studies support four factor models. Little is available on discriminant validity and sensitivity to change. Strengths, limitations, and future research directions are discussed. Understanding the PCL's psychometric properties, strengths (e.g., items map on to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria), and limitations (e.g., may overestimate PTSD prevalence) will help clinicians and researchers make educated decisions regarding the appropriate use of this measure in their particular setting. Depression and Anxiety, 2011.  © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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