Screening for PTSD in a substance abuse sample: Psychometric properties of a modified version of the PTSD symptom scale self-report

Authors

  • Scott F. Coffey,

    1. Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
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  • Bonnie S. Dansky,

    1. Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
    2. National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
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  • Sherry A. Falsetti,

    1. National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
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  • Michael E. Saladin,

    1. Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
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  • Kathleen T. Brady

    1. Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
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Abstract

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.

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