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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Modified PTSD Symptom Scale (MPSS-SR) for DSM-III-R

Modified PTSD Symptom Scale (MPSS-SR) for DSM-III-R

Falsetti, Resnick, Resick, & Kilpatrick, 1993


The MPSS-SR is a 17-item self-report measure that assesses the 17 DSM-III-R symptoms of PTSD. This scale is a modification of the PTSD Symptom Scale (PSS; Foa, Riggs, Dancu, & Rothbaum, 1993), which was a precursor of the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS; Foa, et al.).

The major modifications are that the items are not keyed to any particular traumatic event and that the MPSS-SR includes severity ratings in addition to the original measure's frequency ratings for each item. Thus, items are rated on 4-point frequency (ranging from 0 = "not at all" to 3 = "5 or more times per week") and intensity scales (ranging from A = "not at all upsetting" to D = "extremely upsetting").

In addition, for each item, respondents are asked to identify, if they can, which event each symptom is linked to. Respondents are asked about how they have been feeling for the past two weeks. The MPSS-SR can be used to make a preliminary determination of the diagnosis of PTSD using either DSM-III-R criteria or a frequency, severity, or total score cutoff scores. It can be scored as a continuous measure of PTSD symptom severity.

Sample Item

"Have you had repeated bad dreams or nightmares? About which event(s)?" (Respondents are asked to rate "how often?" and "how upsetting?" the symptom was.)


Falsetti, S. A., Resnick, H. S., Resick, P. A., & Kilpatrick, D. (1993). The Modified PTSD Symptom Scale: A brief self-report measure of posttraumatic stress disorder. The Behavioral Therapist, 16, 161-162.

Additional Reviews

Orsillo (2001) (PDF) p. 299.

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

To Obtain Scale

Sherry Falsetti, PhD
Dept. of Family and Community Medicine
College of Medicine at Rockford
Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
1221 East State Street
Rockford, IL 61104

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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