The Child Trauma Screen: A Follow-Up Validation

Jason M. Lang, Christian M. Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Although the prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic events and associated outcomes among children is well documented, widespread trauma screening remains limited. This study provides additional data supporting the psychometrics of the Child Trauma Screen (CTS), a free, brief, empirically derived measure that was intended as a trauma screen for use across child-serving systems. Participants were an ethnically diverse sample of 187 children aged 6–18 years recruited from an urban children's community mental health clinic. At intake, children and their caregivers completed the CTS and other standardized measures of posttraumatic stress disorder, externalizing behavior, anxiety, and depression. Results indicated that the CTS had strong properties on both child and caregiver reports, including internal consistency (Cronbach's α =.78 for both), convergent validity (r =.83 and r =.86), divergent validity (mean across measures and reporters, r =.31; range r =.01–.70), and criterion validity (sensitivity = 0.83 and 0.76; specificity = 0.95 and 0.79, correct classification 89.3% and 81.4%). Suggested cut points and recommendations for using the CTS as a trauma screen are provided. This study provides further empirical support for the use of the CTS as a brief trauma screening measure and provides recommendations for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-548
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of traumatic stress
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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