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Predicting post-traumatic stress disorder: validation of the Trauma Screening Questionnaire in victims of assault



Background. No accurate means of determining which individuals will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event has yet been identified. This study aimed to determine the validity of the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ) in predicting the development of PTSD following assault.

Method. Five hundred and sixty-two individuals who presented to an emergency unit following assault completed the TSQ between 1 and 3 weeks later. The Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) was completed by the same individuals at 1 month and 6 months following assault to determine the presence of PTSD. The predictive power of the TSQ was determined by statistical tests.

Results. The TSQ was an effective means of predicting future PTSD, with a sensitivity of 0·85, specificity 0·89, negative predictive value (NPV) 0·98 and efficiency 0·90. The positive predictive value (PPV) was lower (0·48), probably as a result of the relatively low prevalence of PTSD at 1 month (11%) and 6 months (8%) following the assault.

Conclusions. This study suggests that the TSQ can be used between 1 and 3 weeks after assault to help identify individuals who will develop PTSD.


Corresponding author

Department of Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University, Monmouth House, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK. (Email:
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
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