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UCLA PTSD RI - UCLA Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index for DSM IV

The UCLA PTSD Reaction Index for DSM IV is a self-report questionnaire to screen for exposure to traumatic events and assess PTSD symptoms in school-age children and adolescents. The scale assesses the frequencey of occurence of PTSD symptoms during the past month (rated from 0 = none of the time to 4 = most of the time). The items map directly onto DSM IV intrusion, avoidance, and arousal criteria, while two additional items assess associated features (fear of recurrence and trauma-related guilt). Scoring algorithms permit tabulation of UCLA PTSD-RI total score, and B, C, and D subscale scores.




Robert S. Pynoos, Alan M. Steinberg

Steinberg AM, Brymer MJ, Kim S, Ghosh C, Ostrowski SA, Gulley K, , Briggs, EC, Pynoos, RS (2013). Psychometric properties of the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index: Part 1, Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 1-9.

Steinberg, A. M., Brymer, M., Decker, K., & Pynoos, R. S. (2004). The UCLA PTSD Reaction Index. Current Psychiatry Reports, 6, 96-100. Available from:

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): 
Once a month
Response Format: 


Likert Scale (0=None, 1=Little, 2=Some, 3=A Lot, 4= A Whole Lot)

Likert Scale (0=None, 1=Little, 2=Some, 3=Much, 4=Most)

Materials Needed: 
Sample Items: 
DomainsScaleSample Items
PTSD SymptomsIntrusion (0=None, 1=Little, 2=Some, 3=Much, 4=Most)I have upsetting thoughts, pictures, or sounds of what happened come into my mind when I do not want them to
PTSD SymptomsScale:Hyper-Arousal (0=None, 1=Little, 2=Some, 3=Much, 4=Most)I watch out for danger or things that I am afraid of.
PTSD SymptomsScale:Avoidance/Numbing (0=None, 1=Little, 2=Some, 3=Much, 4=Most)I feel like staying by myself and not being with my friends.
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Continuous Assessment
Diagnostic Info DSM IV
Raw Scores


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

Parallel or Alternate Forms

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


Clinical Cutoffs: 
Internal Consistency0.90Cronbach's Alpha
Parallel/Alternate Forms
References for Reliability: 

Steinberg AM, Brymer MJ, Kim S, Ghosh C, Ostrowski SA, Gulley K, , Briggs, EC, Pynoos, RS (2013). Psychometric properties of the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index: Part 1, Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 1-9. Steinberg, A. M., Brymer, M., Decker, K., & Pynoos, R. S. (2004). The UCLA PTSD Reaction Index. Current Psychiatry Reports, 6, 96-100. Available from: NOTES: Data comes from the NCTSN Core Data Set. 1)Internal consistency reliability coefficients (Cronbach's alpha) were reported as follows: Full Scale = .90, B = .82, C = .79, D = .67 Cronbach's alpha for the full scales across ethnic groups fell in the excellent to good range. 2) Test-retest reliability data, with an interval range from 6 to 28 days (median = 7 days), were reported for a sample of 27 adolescents, who were screened and identified as having an exposure to severe trauma. Pearson coefficients were as follows: Full Scale = .84, Intrusion subscale = .78, Avoidance subscale = .78, and Hyperarousal subscale = .73

Content Validity Evaluated: 
References for Content Validity: 

Rodriguez et al. (2001) examined the construct validity of the UCLA PTSD Index for DSM-IV by correlating index subscales with the PTSD symptom clusters of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (K-SADS), Epidemiologic Version 5 (Orvaschel). The total score and all three subscales of the UCLA PTSD Index were significantly correlated with corresponding PTSD subscales of the K-SADS PTSD module (ranging from .49 to .70). The high internal consistency of the Index total score provided evidence that the scale measures a single underlying construct - DSM -IV PTSD symptoms. Moderate to high internal consistencies of Intrusion, Avoidance, and Hyperarousal subscales were provided as evidence that the subscales measure underlying constructs corresponding to PTSD symptom clusters.

Construct Validity Evaluated: 
Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to Changeyesyes
Intervention Effectsyesyesyes
Longitudinal/Maturation Effectsyesyes
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct Groupsyesyesyes
Factorial Validityyes
References for Construct Validity: 

Elhai JD, Layne CM, Steinberg AS, Brymer, MJ, Briggs EC, Ostrowski SA, Pynoos, RS (2013). Psychometric Properties of the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index. Part 2: Investigating Factor Structure Findings in a National Clinic-Referred Youth Sample, Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 10-18.

Goenijian, A. K., Pynoos, R. S., Karayan, I., Minassian, D., Najarian, L. M., Steinberg, A. M., Fairbanks, L. A. (1997). Outcome of psychotherapy among pre-adolescents after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 536-542.

NOTES: The PTSD-RI displayed good evidence of construct validity in that there were highly significant correlations in regard to convergent validity across participants. The high correlation of the total PTSD-RI and subscale scores for the full sample (and within sex, age, and ethnic groups) with the PTSD subscale of the TSCC-A suggests that both scales are measuring a similar underlying theoretical construct.

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

Goenjian, A. K., Najarian L. M., Steinberg, A. M., Fairbanks, L. A., Tashjian, M., & Pynoos, R. S. (2000) A prospective study of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depressive reactions after earthquake and violence. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157, 911-916.

Steinberg, A. M., Pynoos, R. S., Gerrity, E. T., Layne, C. M., Vivrette, B., Briggs, E. C., Fairbank, J. A. The NCTSN Core Data Set: Emerging findings, future directions, and implications for theory, research, practice, and policy. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, (In Press).

NOTES: Findings also lend support to the incremental predictive utility of PTSD-RI scores in addition to that of trauma exposure in relation to other clinically significant outcomes.

Overall Psychometric Limitations: 

Psychometrics data was reported using a small sample size. Replication of finding with moderate sample sizes and in other adolescent PTSD screening samples with similar or different PTSD base rates is essential to further establish the instrument's reliability and validity. Studies tracking UCLA PTSD Index scores and diagnositc rates across treatment (in treatment and control groups) are necessary to establish the Index as a valid measure of PTSD treatment outcome.



Population Information

For Specific Population: 
Complex Trauma

Pros & Cons/References


The UCLA PTSD Index for DSM-IV is a user-friendly, brief screening tool which provides information regarding trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms. It can be administered either individually or in a group setting. As a true self-report format measure, the UCLA PTSD Index for DSM-IV is attractive due to its ease of administration.

Developer of Review: 
Alan M. Steinberg
Editor of Review: 
Mariana M. Holliday
Last Updated: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2012