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TSI - Trauma Symptom Inventory

The TSI was developed to assess acute and chronic traumatic symptomatology in adults 18 years and older. The test consists of 100 items and is divided into 10 clinical scales and 3 validity scales.




Brier, John, Ph.D.

Briere, J. (1995). Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI): Professional Manual. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.

Contact Information: 
Cost Involved
Domain Assessed: 
Traumatic Stress
Anxiety/Mood (Internalizing Symptoms)
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 Likert-type rating scale: 0 (Never) to 3 (Often)

Materials Needed: 
Sample Items: 
DomainsScaleSample Items
Trauma SymptomsAnxious Arousal Not available
Trauma SymptomsDepression Not available
Trauma SymptomsAnger/Irritability Not available
Trauma SymptomsIntrusive Experiences Not available
Trauma SymptomsDefensive Avoidance Not available
Trauma SymptomsDissociation Not available
Trauma SymptomsSexual ConcernsNot available
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Clinician Friendly Output
Continuous Assessment
Graphs (e.g. of elevated scale)
Raw Scores
Standard Scores
Written Feedback From a Computer Program


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

Parallel or Alternate Forms

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

The TSI manual states that "the TSI can be administered and scored by individuals who do not have formal training in clinical psychology" . . . "the interpretation of TSI scores and profiles requires graduate training in psychology."


Age Groups
Notes on Psychometric Norms: 

The sample used to develop the TSI is the same sample that was used to norm the measure.

Clinical Cutoffs: 
Clinical Cutoffs Description: 

T-scores at or above 65 are considered clinically significant.

Internal ConsistencyAcceptableCronbach's alpha0.740.910.86
Content Validity Evaluated: 
References for Content Validity: 

Items were selected according to the existing trauma literature, clinical experience, and consultation with trauma experts.

Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to ChangeYes
Intervention EffectsYes
Longitudinal/Maturation EffectsYes
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct GroupsYesYesYes
Factorial ValidityYesYesYes
References for Construct Validity: 

1. Wallis (2002) established sensitivity to change in an experimental study. After receiving group therapy, traumatized participants in the experimental group scored lower on 7 of the 10 clinical scales on the TSI and on the three composite scales. The researcher reported no similar reduction in symptoms in the control group.

Other studies showing tx sensitivity of TSI:
1. Bradley, R.G. & Follingstad, D.R. (2003). Group therapy for incarcerated women who experienced interpersonal violence: a pilot study. Journal of
Traumatic Stress, 16, 337-340.

2. Resick, P.A., Nishith, P., & Griffin, M.G. (2003). How well does cognitivebehavioral therapy treat symptoms of complex PTSD?: An examination of child
sexual abuse survivors within a clinical trial. CNS Spectrums, 8, 340-342, 351-355.

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

In a study with 449 participants from the general population, discriminant function analysis revealed that the TSI scales correctly predicted 24 of 26
PTSD positive cases (92% true positive) and 385 of 423 PTSD negative cases (91% true negative) (Briere, 1995).

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

1. No clinical population was used in the norming procedures.

2. There is no test-restest reliability reported for the measure.

3. Overall, the TSI is based on extensive research and shows good psychometric properties.


Translation Quality: 
Language:TranslatedBack TranslatedReliableGood PsychometricsSimilar Factor StructureNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for this Group
1. French (Canadian)YesYes
2. ChineseYes
3. Spanish YesYes
4. SwedishYes

Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

The norming sample consisted of 77.5% Caucasian, 10.3% African Americans, 6.1% Hispanics, 2.9% Asians, and 2.3% Native Americans. Although the sample is generally comparable to the 1990 U.S. Census, the author noted that it slightly overrepresented Caucasian, married, and more educated individuals.

There are special norms for ethnic minorities (African American and Hispanics) for the three validity scales.

No special norms for ethnic minority groups for the clinical scales were warranted because only three of the 10 clinical scales showed any race differences, and overall, only 2% of the variance can be accounted for by race.

Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Witness Death
Natural Disaster
Domestic Violence
Community Violence
Traumatic Loss (Death)
Use with Diverse Populations: 
Population Type: Measure Used with Members of this GroupMembers of this Group Studied in Peer-Reviewed JournalsReliableGood PsychometricsNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for this Group
African Americans YesYes

Pros & Cons/References


1. Berah, E. (1997). Test Review: The Trauma Symptom Inventory. Psychiatry, Psychology, and the Law, 4, 93-94.

2. Boccaccini, M.T., & Brodsky, S.L. (1999). Diagnostic test usage by forensic psychologists in emotional injury cases. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 30, 253-259.

3. Bradley, R.G. & Follingstad, D.R. (2003). Group therapy for incarcerated women who experienced interpersonal violence: A pilot study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16, 337-340.

4. Briere, J., Elliot, D.M., Harris, K., & Cotman, A. (1995). Trauma Symptom Inventory: Psychometrics and association with childhood and adult trauma in clinical samples. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10, 387-401.

5. Ebert, L., & Fairbank, J.A. (1996). The Trauma Symptom Inventory: Assessing the spectrum of symptoms associated with traumatic stress. American Psychology – Law Society News (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association), Fall, 21-23.

6. Edens, J.F., Otto, R.K. & Dwyer, T.J. (1998). Susceptibility of the trauma symptom inventory to malingering. Journal of Personality Assessment, 71 (3), 379-392.

7. Larson, G.E., Booth-Kewley, S., Merrill, L.L., & Stander, V.A. (2001). Physical symptoms as indicators of depression and anxiety. Military Medicine, 166, 796-799.

8. Merrill, L.L. (2001). Trauma symptomatology among female U.S. Navy recruits. Military Medicine, 166, 621-624.

9. Resick, P.A., Nishith, P., & Griffin, M.G. (2003). How well does cognitive-behavioral therapy treat symptoms of complex PTSD?: An examination of child sexual abuse survivors within a clinical trial. CNS Spectrums, 8, 340-342, 351-355.

10. Rosenthal, B.S. (2000). Exposure to community violence in adolescence: Trauma symptoms. Adolescence, 35, 271-284.

11. Rosenthal, B.S., & Wilson, W.C. (2003). Impact of and exposure to community violence and psychological symptoms on college performance among students of color. Adolescence, 38, 239-249.

12. Runtz, M.G., & Roche, D.N. (1999). Validation of the Trauma Symptom Inventory in a Canadian sample of university women. Journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, 4, 69-80.

13. Sigman, M.R., & Wilson, J.P. (1998). Traumatic bereavement: Post traumatic stress disorder and prolonged grief in motherless daughters. Journal of Psychological Practice, 4, 34-50.

14. Wallis, D.N. (2002). Reduction of trauma symptoms following group therapy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 36, 67-74.

15. Wilson, C.W., & Rosenthal, B.S. (2004). Psychological effects of attacks on the World Trade Center: Analysis before and after. Psychological Reports, 94, 587-606.

Developer of Review: 
Sven Schild, M.S.
Editor of Review: 
Nicole Taylor, Ph.D.; Robyn Igelman, M.A., Madhur Kulkarni, M.S.,
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014