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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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PTSD Symptom Scale - Interview for DSM-5 (PSS-I-5)

PTSD Symptom Scale - Interview for DSM-5 (PSS-I-5)

Edna B. Foa, 2013


The PSS-I-5 is a 24-item semi-structured interview that assesses PTSD symptoms in the past month and makes a diagnostic determination based upon DSM-5 criteria. The PSS-I-5 begins with a Criterion A trauma screen and identification of an index trauma if multiple events are reported. Questions assess for frequency and intensity of 20 DSM-5 PTSD symptoms. An additional four items ask about distress and interference caused by PTSD symptoms as well as onset and duration of symptoms.

Symptom items are rated on a 5-point scale of frequency and severity ranging from 0 (Not at all) to 4 (6 or more times a week / severe). Symptoms are considered present when rated 1 or higher. The sum of the 20 PTSD symptoms items yield a total PTSD symptom severity score, ranging from 0-80. Consistent with the DSM-5, PTSD diagnosis requires the presence of 1 intrusion symptom, 1 avoidance symptom, 2 the presence of clinically significant distress or interference, operationalized as a score of 2 or higher on relevant items.

A manual for administration and scoring of the PSS-I-5 is available.

Sample Item

Have you had unwanted distressing memories about the trauma?

0 = Not at all
1 = Once a week or less/a little
2 = 2 to 3 times a week/somewhat
3 = 4 to 5 times a week/very much
4 = 6 or more times a week/severe


The original PTSD Symptom Scale - Interview Version (PSS-I) is a 17-item semi-structured interview that assesses PTSD criteria according to the DSM-IV.


Foa, E. B., McLean, C. P., Zang, Y., Zong, J., Rauch, S., Porter, K., ...& Kauffman, B. (2016). Psychometric properties of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Scale Interview for DSM-5 (PSSI-5). Psychological Assessment, 28, 1159-1165. doi:10.1037/pas0000259

To Obtain Scale

Dr. Edna B. Foa
3535 Market Street 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Measure availability: We provide information on a variety of measures assessing trauma and PTSD. These measures are intended for use by qualified mental health professionals and researchers. Measures authored by National Center staff are available as direct downloads or by request. Measures developed outside of the National Center can be requested via contact information available on the information page for the specific measure.

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PTSD Information Voice Mail: (802) 296-6300
Also see: VA Mental Health