We evaluated the specific version of the PTSD Checklist (PCL-S) as a screening tool for the recruitment of community-residing men and women with diverse trauma experiences. We administered the PCL-S via telephone in the context of participant recruitment, as well as in a laboratory setting preceding administration of the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the gold standard PTSD assessment tool. In the laboratory, the PCL-S performed reasonably well for men and women, yielding overall diagnostic efficiency (ODE) values (representing percentage of cases accurately identified) of 0.78 and 0.73, respectively, for our recommended cut-points of 42 for men and 49 for women. In contrast, as a recruitment tool, the PCL-S yielded an acceptable ODE of 0.79 for men at the recommended cut-point of 47, but only an ODE of 0.56 (representing diagnostic efficiency no greater than chance) for women at the recommended cut-point of 50. A recruitment cut-point of 57 for women yields a similarly modest ODE of 0.61, but with substantial cost to sensitivity. These findings suggest that use of the PCL-S to screen for PTSD among potential study participants may lead to gender biased study results, even when separate diagnostic cut-points for men and women are used.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry