Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ)

A questionnaire that explores traumatic events and symptoms associated with traumatic events. HTQ contains four parts, each part focusing on different aspects of a person’s relationship with trauma. In the original version of HTQ, available in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian, questions address trauma specific to Southeast Asian refugees. Part I consists of 17 possible traumatic events, to which respondents are to answer with one or more of the following—Experienced, Witnessed, Heard about it, or No. In the later version of the HTQ, available in Japanese, Bosnian, and Croatian, Part I contains 46 to 82 traumatic event scenarios, with available response choices reduced to Yes/No only. In both versions of the HTQ, Part II asks respondents to provide a subjective, open-ended narrative of the most traumatic event ever experienced. Part III inquires about head injuries, with the question further expanded upon in the Bosnian and Croatian versions, and eliminated from the Japanese version. Part IV of the original version explores trauma symptoms, with the first 16 items drawn from the DSM IIIR/DSM-IV criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the remaining 14 developed by the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma to reflect symptoms specific to refugee trauma. In later versions of HTQ, Part IV of the Japanese version contains the original 30 items, in addition to seven items specific to Japanese culture and language. The Bosnian and Croatian versions for Part IV preserve the original 16 items from the DSM IIIR/DSM-IV for PTSD, but contain 24 items that inquire about one’s perception of and/or ability to function on a day-to-day basis.

Related Publications

Bolton, P., & Betancourt, T. S. (2004). Mental Health in Postwar Afghanistan. JAMA, 292(5), 636-628.

Tang, S. S., & Fox, S. H. (2001). Traumatic experiences and the mental health of Senegalese refugees. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 189(8), 507-512.

Goldin, S., Levin, L., Persson, L. Å., & Hägglöf, B. (2003). Child war trauma: A comparison of clinician, parent and child assessments. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 57(3), 173-183.

What it measures

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Trauma exposure


Harvard Program on Refugee Trauma


Adults, adolescents, and children aged 11 years and older



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