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Keywords:

  • assessment;
  • methodology;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • psychological trauma

In this article, we discuss challenges associated with the common practice of assessing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without reference to a specific traumatic event. We describe basic procedures for evaluating PTSD in a way that is consistent with both the disorder's historical conceptualization and contemporary methodology. In doing so, we present the rationale and limited empirical evidence supporting the so-called worst event method of identifying an index trauma for subsequent PTSD assessment.