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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) for DSM-IV

Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) for DSM-IV

Davidson, 1997


The DTS is a 17-item self-report measure that assesses the 17 DSM-IV symptoms of PTSD. Items are rated on 5-point frequency (0 = "not at all" to 4 = "every day") and severity scales (0 = "not at all distressing" to 4 = "extremely distressing"). Respondents are asked to identify the trauma that is most disturbing to them and to rate, in the past week, how much trouble they have had with each symptom.

The DTS yields a frequency score (ranging from 0 to 68), severity score (ranging from 0 to 68), and total score (ranging from 0 to 136). It can be used to make a preliminary determination about whether the symptoms meet DSM criteria for PTSD. Scores can also be calculated for each of the 3 PTSD symptom clusters (i.e., B, C, and D).

Sample Item

Have you had painful images, memories or thoughts of the event? (Respondents rate how much trouble they have had with each symptom).


The SPAN is a 4-item screen for PTSD that was empirically derived from the DTS (Meltzer-Brody et al., 1999).


Davidson, J. R. T., Book, S. W., Colket, J. T., Tupler, L. A., Roth, S., David, D., Hertzberg, M., Mellman, T., Beckham, J. C., Smith, R., Davison, R. M., Katz, R., & Feldman, M. (1997). Assessment of a new self-rating scale for post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychological Medicine, 27, 153-160.

Meltzer-Brody S., Churchill, E, Davidson, J. R. (1999). Derivation of the SPAN, a brief diagnostic screening test for posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry Research, 88, 63-70.

Davidson, J. R., Tharwani, H. M., Connor, K. M. (2002). Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS): Normative scores in the general population and effect sizes in placebo-controlled SSRI trials. Depression and Anxiety, 15, 75-78.

Additional Reviews

Orsillo (2001) (PDF) p. 261.

Orsillo, Susan M. (2001). Measures for acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. In M.M. Antony & S.M. Orsillo (Eds.), Practitioner's guide to empirically based measures of anxiety (pp. 255-307). New York: KluwerAcademic/Plenum. PTSDpubs ID 24368

Norris and Hamblen (2004) (PDF) p. 80.

Norris, Fran H. & Hamblen, Jessica L. (2004). Standardized self-report measures of civilian trauma and PTSD. In J.P. Wilson, T.M. Keane & T. Martin (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD (pp. 63-102). New York: Guilford Press. PTSDpubs ID 18638

To Obtain Scale

Mental Health Systems, Inc.
PO Box 950
908 Niagara Falls Blvd.
North Tonawanda, NY 14120-2060
Phone: (800) 456-3003

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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.

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