Screening for Traumatic Stress: A Scale for Use in the General Population1


  • Fran H. Norris

    1. Georgia State University
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      Requests for reprints should be sent to Fran H. Norris, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, University Plaza, Atlanta, GA 30303.

  • 1

    Preparation of this paper was supported in part by Grant No. MH40411 from the National Institute of Mental Health.


A short screening instrument for detecting the occurrence and impact of traumatic events is presented. It is proposed that a relevant event population for assessing exposure to traumatic events comprises “violent encounters with nature, technology, or humankind” and that loss, scope, threat, blame, familiarity, and post-traumatic stress are the dimensions of the experience that are most critical to assess. It is estimated that 8% of the U.S. adult population will experience one or more of the selected events within a year's time. Potential uses and contributions of the instrument are discussed.