Child Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale (CPSS)

A 24-item tool used to assess for, and/or diagnose, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in children. Adapted from the adult screening tool, the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS), the CPSS comprises two parts—Part One, patterned after DSMIV criteria; and Part Two, assesses functional impairments resulting from symptoms recognized in Part One. Part One, consisting of 17 items, addresses symptom frequency—how often a child has been bothered by a particular problem over the past two weeks. Response options for this section include: Not at All (0), Once a Week or Less/Once in a While (1), Two to Four Times a Week/Half the Time (2), and Five or More Times a Week/Almost Always (3). The total score for this section ranges from 0 to 51, with higher scores indicative of PTSD. In Part Two, children are asked seven questions about functional impairment due to symptoms discussed in Part One. Response options for this section are: Absent (0) or Present (1). The total score for this section ranges from 0 to 7, with higher scores indicative of greater functional impairment. If desired, it is also possible to calculate sub scale scores for re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyper-arousal. The CPSS, which can be self-administered or administered by an interviewer, takes about 10-20 minutes to administer.

Related Publications

Balaban, V. (2006). Psychological assessment of children in disasters and emergencies. Disasters, 30(2), 178-198.

Tol, W. A, Komproe, I. H., Jordans, M. D., Susanty, D., & De Jong, J. M. (2001). Developing a function impairment measure for children affected by political violence: a mixed methods approach in Indonesia. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 23(4), 375-383

Tol, W. A, Komproe, I. H., Jordans, M. D., Vallipuram, A., Sipsma, H., Sivayokan, S., & Macy, R. D. (2012). Outcomes and moderators of a preventive school-based mental health intervention for children affected by war in Sri Lanka: a cluster randomized trial. World Psychiatry, 11(2), 114–122.

What it measures

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry


Children aged 8 to 18 years



English, Spanish