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Davidson Trauma Scale

Measures symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

J. R. T. Davidson., M.D.
17 items; Self-Report
Ages 18 and older
10 minutes administration time
B Level User Qualification
1996 MHS Inc.

Jonathan Davidson, M.D.

Although posttraumatic stress disorder is common in contemporary society, only a limited number of PTSD scales are available. Generally these scales have been tested within a restricted range of trauma victims and rarely have they been evaluated from the standpoint of treatment effectiveness.
The DTS is a well-tested instrument for measuring severity of
PTSD symptoms. The items reflect the symptoms diagnostic of
PTSD as defined in DSM-IV and provide a separate assessment
of symptom frequency and symptom severity. The DTS is predictive of treatment response, as well.
By separately assessing frequency and severity, the scale can
also highlight whether there has been a global improvement in
either dimension or a more selective improvement in subjective distress, even in the continued face of symptoms.
The DTS is intended for use with any adult who has been
exposed to a serious trauma, as described in DSM-IV; that is, an
event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury,
or threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and induced
a response of intense fear, helplessness, or horror. The DTS has
been tested in populations who have experienced trauma of
this type. The scale is intended to cover all types of trauma, as
in the following:

Sexual assault
Criminal assault
Natural disaster
Loss of property
Near death experiences

The DTS can be administered to an individual regardless of

whether he or she has been previously diagnosed with PTSD. It
can be useful for trauma victims with no psychiatric disorder, as
well as for those with depression, anxiety, or other psychopathology. In treatment, the DTS can be used as a feedback tool on the progress and pattern of treatment response.
Improvement in some areas and continued distress in others is
likely to exist with PTSD, where symptoms are frequently chronic. The reduction in distress from such symptoms is sometimes a
realistic treatment goal. The DTS has a number of clear
research implications, as well. It is also a useful screening tool
and can point to psychopathology in victims of trauma.

The diversity of the DTS case studies presented in the manual

illustrates the utility of the DTS in a wide variety of clinical contexts. These case studies demonstrate how the DTS can be used
to aid treatment decisions, monitor progress over time, assess
the severity of the problem, and differentiate PTSD from other

User Qualifications
The DTS may be easily administered and scored by counselors,
nurses, physicians, psychologists, social workers, and other
trained professionals and paraprofessionals. B-level qualification
requires that, as a minimum, the user has completed courses in
tests and measurement at a university or has received equivalent
documented training. A professional with advanced training in
psychological assessment and professionals from related disciplines that adhere to relevant professional standards must
assume responsibility for the use, interpretation, and communication of results.

The DTS was developed and tested in broad-based samples
totaling over 400 subjects, inclusive of men and women and
different traumata. Subjects were recruited from four clinical
research studies of PTSD groups.
Study 1 was composed of 78 female rape victims in treatment at Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina
Study 2 included 53 Hurricane Andrew victims from
Study 3 consisted of 110 male combat veterans seen at
Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center, North
Study 4 consisted of 102 individuals in a multi-center clinical trial throughout the United States
The DTS Manual documents specific demographic aspects of
the sample.

Respondents are asked to rate each of the 17 items referring to
a particular traumatic event, or series of events, according to
level of distress based on their ratings of symptoms that have
occurred during the past week. Both frequency and severity
are rated for each item. If the respondent has experienced
multiple traumatic episodes, multiple copies of the DTS may be
A total score, reflecting both frequency and severity ratings for
all 17 items and separate ratings for the total frequency and

Davidson Trama Scale

total severity of all 17 items, can be used to interpret results. The
3 clusters, Intrusive, Avoidance/Numbing, and Hyperarousal
can be scored separately as well. Intrusion symptoms are covered in 5 items corresponding to Cluster B in DSM-IV; 7 items
correspond to Avoidance and Numbing, Cluster C in DSM-IV;
and 5 items correspond to Hyperarousal, Cluster D in DSM-IV.
A table that gives relative frequencies for individuals with and
without PTSD at given DTS scores is also integrated into the
form. This table aids in the interpretation of the respondents
Total DTS score.
The DTS is suitable for adults who have an eighth-grade reading level or higher and is appropriate for both individual and
group administrations.

The DTS is available in the MHS QuikScore
Form. This paper-and-pencil format is
designed for easy recording, scoring, and
profiling of responses. No scoring templates are necessary; the respondents
answers automatically transfer through to
the concealed scoring page.
For computer-based and web-enabled
assessments, custom integration with
your enterprise database, or site licensing arrangements, the DTS is incorporated into the MHS
Professional Tool Suite, sophisticated software technology featuring SmartLink, a client management program. For details
about the capabilities and configuration possibilities of the
MHS Professional Tool Suite, please refer to the MHS Professional
Tool Suite product brochure available from MHS.

MHS has experience with developing accurate translations of assessments published by MHS as well as by
other publishers, using our worldwide network of over
400 qualified translators with backgrounds in psychology and
medicine. Many of our products are available in a variety of
languages. The DTS is available in English, French (Canadian),
and Hispanic. For information about the availability of the DTS in
other languages, please contact the MHS Translations

Scientific Validation
Because the DTS items were selected to represent each of the
defining symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in DSM-IV,
the scale can be useful in assessing diagnostic probability and
the frequency and severity of PTSD symptoms.
Detailed data are presented, including
split-half reliability, between occasion reliability (i.e., testretest), and internal consistency co-efficients
diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, predictive value, and
efficiency of the DTS relative to an independent SCID
diagnosis of PTSD
convergent validity as supported by a comparison with
three other psychometric measures
divergent validity as supported by the failure of the DTS
to show statistically significant associates with measures
unrelated conceptually to the severity of PTSD
evidence for the construct validity of the DTS lies in the
ability of the Total DTS Score to distinguish, by means of
an independent clinical interview, between respondents
diagnosed with PTSD and those without the diagnosis
additional evidence to show that the DTS is able to distinguish between people who respond to treatment and
those who fail to respond
the ability of the DTS to show change across time and to
separately distinguish between varying levels of severity

Supportive Literature

Davidson, J. R. T. (2000). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

Guidelines for investigating efficacy of pharmacological intervention. European Neuropsychopharmacology 10, 297303.
Davidson, J. R. T., Book, S. W., Colket, J. T., Tupler, L. A., Roth,
S., Hertzberg, M., Mellman, T., Beckham, J. C., Smith, R. D.,
Davidson, R. M., Katz, R., & Feldman, M. E. (1999). Assessment of
a new self-rating scale for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psychological Medicine, 27, 153160.
Zlotnick, C., Davidson, J.R.T., Shea, T., & Pearlstein, T. (1996). The
validation of the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) in a sample of
survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Nervous and
Mental Diseases, 184, 255257.

Complements for the DTS

Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS)
Coping with Health Injuries and Problems (CHIP)
DTREE: The DSM-IV Expert for Windows
GAF Report for Windows
Health Dynamics Inventory (HDI)
HELP-Stress for Windows
Rehabilitation Checklist (RCL)
Rehabilitation Education and Coping Series
SCID Screen Patient Questionnaire (SSPQ) for Windows
Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory (SPAI)
Social Problem Solving InventoryRevised (SPSIR)

For pricing and ordering information:

Web Site:
In the U.S.: 1-800-456-3003
In Canada: 1-800-268-6011
International: +1-416-492-2627
Fax: 1-888-540-4484 or +1-416-492-3343
For research: r&
For site licensing and software delivery applications:
For translations:
Additional copies of this document and sample reports of available
software versions may be obtained from our web site.
HC 01 04 Printed in Canada