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We investigated the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) module's trauma screen of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID), a single-item traumatic event history query. Compared to the Stressful Life Events Screening Questionnaire (SLESQ), the SCID trauma screen was 76% sensitive in identifying trauma histories in 199 medical patients (correctly ruling out 67%) but only 66% sensitive in 253 college students (ruling out 87%). A modified, more behaviorally specific SCID trauma screen (M-SCID) yielded poorer results in identifying trauma among 245 additional college students. Based on probable PTSD diagnoses (PTSD Symptom Scale), using the SCID screen instead of the SLESQ, 3% (M-SCID screen) to 11-14% (standard SCID) of PTSD cases were missed due to not having a trauma history. Our results lend support to previous research establishing the SCID trauma screen as a useful screening device in settings where a more comprehensive trauma screen is not possible.