The differential diagnostic accuracy of the PTSD Checklist among men versus women in a community sample

Kelly S. Parker-Guilbert, Feea R. Leifker, Lauren M. Sippel, Amy D. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-686
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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