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October/November 2015 (vol. 12/3)

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Research Plus

PTSD screening

Two screening tools – the four-item Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD) and 17-item PTSD Checklist – show good sensitivity and specificity in identifying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and are relatively easy to use and interpret, according to this systematic review. Twentythree studies met inclusion criteria, eight were conducted in community settings and 15 in primary care. Fifteen different screening tools were identified and compared – nine specific for PTSD and six for multiple mental-health problems. Few had been evaluated in more than one study; meta-analyses were possible only for the PC-PTSD and PTSD Checklist. The PC-PTSD had a sensitivity of 0.69 (CI 0.55–0.81) and specificity of 0.92 (CI 0.86–0.95). The PTSD Checklist had a sensitivity of 0.70 (CI 0.64–0.77) and specificity of 0.90 (CI 0.84-0.93). There was no statistically significant difference in diagnostic accuracy between these two tests. Multi-condition tools were less effective than those specifically designed to assess PTSD. 

JAMA 2015; 314(5): 501–510. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.7877

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Occupational Health at Work October/November 2015 (vol. 12/3) pp33