Screening for PTSD in a Substance Abuse Sample: Psychometric Properties of a Modified Version of the PTSD Symptom Scale Self-Report

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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 (PSSSR) 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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