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TSCYC - Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children

The TSCYC is a 90-item caretaker-report instrument developed for the assessment of trauma-related symptoms in children ages 3-12. It contains two reporter validity scales and eight clinical scales. The scales allow a detailed evaluation of posttraumatic stress symptoms and a tentative PTSD diagnosis. It also provides information on other symptoms such as anxiety, depression, anger, and abnormal sexual behavior.




Briere, John, Ph.D.

Briere, J (2005). Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSCYC): Professional Manual. Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. Odessa, FL.

Contact Information: 
Cost Involved
Domain Assessed: 
Traumatic Stress
Age Range: 
Measure Type: 
In-depth Assessment
Measure Format: 


Number of Items: 
Average Time to Complete (min): 
Reporter Type: 
Average Time to Score (min): 
Response Format: 

4-point scale (1=Not at All, 2=Sometimes, 3=Often, 4=Very Often)

Sample Items: 
DomainsScaleSample Items
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Clinician Friendly Output
Continuous Assessment
Diagnostic Info DSM IV
Dichotomous Assessment
Graphs (e.g. of elevated scale)
Raw Scores
Standard Scores


Training to Administer: 
Training to Interpret: 
Prior Experience in Psych Testing/Interpretation
Other Training to Administer and Interpret: 

The TSCYC is a PAR "B" level test. B-level qualifications include "a degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in Psychology, Counseling, or a closely related field PLUS satisfactory completion of coursework in Test Interpretation, Psychometrics, and Measurement Theory, Educational Statistics or a closely related area; OR license or certification from an agency/organization that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethnical and competent use of psychological tests."

Parallel or Alternate Forms

Parallel Forms: 
Alternate Forms: 
Different Age Forms: 
Altered Version Forms: 
Alternative Forms Description: 

FORMS FOR DIFFERENT AGES: There is the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) for older children and the Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI) for adults. ALTERED VERSIONS: These self-report measures have similar scales, and can be used to assess cross-informant agreement and to be able to get information from multiple informants.


Age Groups
Notes on Psychometric Norms: 

The TSCYC is typically used with abused and traumatized children. The TSCYC was normed on 750 children matched to the U.S. Census with 42.3% having experienced a highly upsetting or traumatic event.

Clinical Cutoffs: 
Clinical Cutoffs Description: 

T-scores of 65 to 70 are subclinical but considered to be problematic. T-scores of 70 and above are considered to be clinically elevated.

Internal ConsistencyAcceptablealpha0.810.930.87
References for Reliability: 

Gilbert (2004) showed internal consistency as acceptable with an alpha range of .81 to .93 for the clinical scales, average alpha of .87. This is a sample of abused (n=388) and non-abused children (n=45).

Content Validity Evaluated: 
References for Content Validity: 

1. Association with childhood abuse/trauma: Hierarchical multiple regression analyses of TSCYC scale scores were performed for those subjects who had complete data on demographics, childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, and witnessing domestic violence (n=104). After controlling for child sex, age, and race (at Step 1) several relationships were found between type of abuse exposure and TSCYC symptomatology. Specifically, childhood sexual abuse was associated with ratings of Posttraumatic Stress (PTS)-Intrusion, PTS-Avoidance, and PTS-Total, as well as Sexual Concerns. Childhood Physical Abuse was related to PTS-Intrusion, PTS-Arousal, PTS-Total, and Dissociation; and Witnessing Domestic Violence was related to PTS-Intrusions, PTS-Avoidance, PTS-Arousal, and PTS Total, and negatively associated with Sexual Concerns (Briere et al., 2001). 2. Association with child and rater characteristics: Multiple regression analyses of TSCYC scales as a function of child and rater variables revealed that younger children were rated as having more Anger; older children were rated higher on both Depression and Response Level. Two sex differences: Male children received higher scores on the Anger scale and female children had higher Response Level ratings. Two race effects: Caucasian children were rated as higher on Posttraumatic Stress-Arousal and lower on Response Level.

Construct Validity Evaluated: 
Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot KnownNot FoundNonclinical SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to ChangeYes
Intervention Effects
Longitudinal/Maturation Effects
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct GroupsYesYes
Factorial Validity
References for Construct Validity: 

Measures used for convergent/concurrent validity were the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), The Child Depression Inventory (CDI), The Child Dissociative Checklist (CDC), The Child Sexual Behavior Inventory (CSBI), and the Trauma Symptom Checklist (TSCC). Populations used in the studies were non-abused and abused children (Physical, Sexual, Neglect, and Witness Domestic Violence).

Criterion Validity Evaluated: 
Criterion Validity: 
Not KnownNot FoundNonclinical SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Predictive Validity:YesYesYes
Postdictive Validity:
References for Criterion Validity: 

Gilbert (2004) examined a matched sample on age, gender, and ethnicity for sexually abused (n=45) and non-abused (n=45) children. Scores on the TSCYC were able to accurately predict abused and non-abused children most of the time.

Sensitivity Rate Score: 
Specificity Rate Score: 
Overall Psychometric Limitations: 

This is still a new measure and requires more study but is showing great promise.


Translation Quality: 
LanguageTranslatedBack TranslatedReliable Good PsychometricsSimilar Factor StructureNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for this Group
1. SpanishYesYesUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknown
2. SwedishYes

Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

Caretakers fluent in English who brought their children to various programs across the United States. All protocols were provided by child advocacy centers, abuse programs, or child trauma centers. Mean age of children was 7.1 (SD=2.6).

For Specific Population: 
Complex Trauma
Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Domestic Violence
Community Violence
Use with Diverse Populations: 
Population Type:Measure Used with Members of this GroupMembers of this Group Studied in Peer-Reviewed JournalsReliableGood PsychometricsNorms Available Measure Developed for this Group
1. Developmental DisabilityUnknown
2. DisabilitiesUnknown
3. Lower Socio-economic StatusYesYes
4. Rural Populations Unknown Unknown

Pros & Cons/References


1. Includes caretaker validity scales. 2. Norms based on sex and age breakdowns of 3-4, 5-9, and 10-12. 3. Will enable a tentative diagnosis of PTSD (based on DSM-IV) criteria. 4. Short, simple items. 5. Information about amount of time caregiver spends with child each week collected. 6. Normative sample is racially/ethnically diverse and matches the U.S. Census data. 7. Relatively small number of relationships found between child race and symptom scores found – perhaps not biased against racial minorities? 8. Good reliability and validity. 9. Meets the need for an overall trauma measure for young children by assessing overall trauma reaction in young children, including trauma symptomatology and comorbid conditions.


1. Sexual Concern items and Atypical Response items might be offensive to some caregivers. 2. A relatively new measure and lacks substantive validation study. 3. Although the measure is designed for younger children, it does not have items related to trauma symptoms typically expressed by young children, such as regression and separation anxiety. 4. Some Spanish-speaking caregivers have difficulty understanding some of the items.

Author Comments: 

Clinical Impressions: We recently began using this measure. So far, caregivers have not reported any complaints or difficulty understanding the items. We still have limited information about how caretakers are responding to the measure and what type of clinical information it yields. (Note: Publisher, PAR, also reviewed review and provided corrections.)


The reference for the manual is: Briere, J. (2005). Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSCYC): Professional Manual. Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc., Lutz, FL. A PsychInfo literature search (5/05) of "Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children” or “TSCYC" anywhere and communication with the author yielded 3 peer-reviewed journal articles that referenced the measure. 1. Becker-Blease, K.A., Freyd, J.F., & Pears, K.C. (2004). Preschoolers’ memory for threatening information depends on trauma history and attentional context: Implications for the development of dissociation. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 5, 113-131. 2. Briere, J., Johnson, K., Bissada, A., Damon, L., Crouch, J., Gil, E., Hanson, R., & Ernst, V. (2001). The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSCYC): Reliability and association with abuse exposure in a multi-site study, Child Abuse and Neglect, 25, 1001-1014. 3. Finkelhor, D., Turner, H.A., Ormrod, R.K. (in press). The victimization of children and youth: A comprehensive natural survey. Child Maltreatment.

Developer of Review: 
Alicia Gilbert & Michelle Acker, Psy. D.
Editor of Review: 
Nicole Taylor, Ph.D., Robyn Igelman, M.A., Madhur Kulkarni, M.S., Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Ph.D.
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, March 4, 2014