PTSD Self Assessment Checklist

Over the years a number of paper-and-pencil tests have been developed to assist clinicians and researchers in evaluating PTSD symptoms. If you have experienced, witnessed, or learned about an event that caused you to feel intense fear or helplessness, then completing these tests will help determine whether you might have PTSD. 

It is important to keep in mind that your self-assessment won't confirm whether or not you have PTSD. Only a trained mental health professional can provide you with a valid diagnosis of any mental health condition.

(Please note that the checklist below is for civilians. The assessment at the end of this page is for returning veterans.)

Self Test

PCL Test

We have found that the Post Traumatic Stress Disorders Checklist (PCL) is particularly useful for self-assessment. The 2 page PCL takes 5 minutes or less to complete.

Download the checklist to view, print and complete the checklist. Once you have completed the test be sure to come back to evaluate your score. This is explained below.

Instead, it can help you determine the nature and extent of your symptoms and whether you might best seek advice from your doctor or other professional knowledgeable about PTSD.

Understanding Your Score:

Total up the score for your completed PCL by adding together the numbers that correspond with the responses you circled. Possible scores range from 17 to 85. Research has identified cut-off scores that indicate possible PTSD. These range from 44 to 50, depending on the type of trauma experienced.

If you scored 44 or higher it is likely that you may have PTSD. Scores approaching 40 may indicate partial PTSD. So, if you scored higher than 40 and have not done so already, we strongly recommend that you raise and discuss the issue of PTSD with your family doctor. You can print off your completed PCL and show it to your doctor. This is a good starting point. Your doctor may refer you to a healthcare professional who can provide specialized counseling and treatment for your trauma-related symptoms.

Alternate Test

A second test is provided below which may also be useful to you. Again, the advice of a trained mental health professional can validate your assessment and determine the best course of treatment.

Screening for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Self Assessment for Veterans

If you are a returning veteran or a family member of a returning veteran I would strongly encourage you to take the self-test below. The stigma that is attached to what I call the invisible wound is unfounded. Unfortunately we live in a society that does not acknowledge the deep wounds that can’t be seen. But this is changing as rapidly as the numbers of people with PTSD are increasing.

Download the Self Assessment for Veterans (PDF)


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