Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 225–232

Assessing Posttraumatic Stress in Children: A Review and Further Examination of the Psychometrics of Frederick’s Reaction Index

  • Caleb W. Lack
  • Maureen A. Sullivan
  • Laura A. Knight
Assessment Techniques and Training Issues


Frederick’s Reaction Index (RI) is one of the most commonly used measures to assess for the presence of posttraumatic stress symptoms in children. The current study was designed to provide further supporting psychometric data on the use of the RI. Analyses showed the RI to be reliable and valid, correlating with parent reports of child distress. A factor analysis supported the use of a two-factor model of symptoms. Despite the strong properties of the RI, it may need to be revised in the future to make it both more easily understood by younger children and more reflective of current diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder.


posttraumatic stress Frederick’s Reaction Index assessment psychometric properties 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abu Hein, F., Qouta, S., Thabet, A., & El Sarraj, E. (1993). Trauma and mental health of children in Gaza. British Journal of Medicine, 306, 1129–1131.Google Scholar
  2. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (1998). AACAP official action: Practice parameters for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 376(Suppl.), 4S2–6S. DOI: 10.1097/00004583-199810001-00002Google Scholar
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and statistic manual of mental disorders (3rd ed., Rev. ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  4. Frederick, C. J. (1985a). Children traumatized by catastrophic situations. In S. Eth & R. S. Pynoos (Eds.), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in children (pp. 73–99). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  5. Frederick, C. J. (1985b). Selected foci in the spectrum of posttraumatic stress disorders. In J. Laube & S. A. Murphy (Eds.), Perspectives on disaster recovery (pp. 110–130). Norwalk, CT: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  6. Frederick, C. J., Pynoos, R. S., & Nader, K. O. (1992). Child Post-Traumatic Stress Reaction Index. Unpublished instrument. (Available from Calvin J. Frederick, PhD Psychological Services, 69/B116B, Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, 1301 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90073)Google Scholar
  7. Goenjian, A. K., Pynoos, R. S., Steinberg, A. M., Najarian, L. M., Asarnow, J. R., Karayan, I., et al. (1995). Psychiatric comorbidity in children after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 1174–1184.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grice, J. W. (2001). Computing and evaluating factor scores. Psychological Methods, 6, 430–450. DOI: 10.1037/1082-989X.6.4.430PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Koplewicz, H. S., Vogel, J. M., Solanto, M. V., Morrissey, R. F., Alonso, C. M., Abikoff, H., et al. (2002). Child and parent response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 15, 77–85. DOI: 10.1023/A:1014339513128PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lonigan, C. J., Anthony, J. L., & Shannon, M. P. (1998). Diagnostic efficacy of posttraumatic symptoms in children exposed to disaster. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27, 255–267.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lonigan, C. J., Shannon, M. P., Finch, A. J., Jr., Daugherty, T. K., & Taylor, C. M. (1991). Children’s reactions to a natural disaster: Symptom severity and degree of exposure. Advanced Behavioral Research and Therapy, 13, 135–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. March, J. S. (1999). Assessment of pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder. In P. A. Saigh & J. D. Bremner (Eds.), Posttraumatic stress disorder: A comprehensive text (pp. 199–218). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  13. McDermott, B. M., Lee, E. M., Judd, M., & Gibbon, P. (2005). Posttraumatic stress disorder and general psychopathology in children and adolescents. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50, 137–143.Google Scholar
  14. National Center for PTSD. (2003). Child measures. Retrieved June 2, 2003, from Google Scholar
  15. Pynoos, R. S., Frederick, C., Nader, N., Arroyo, W., Steinberg, A., Eth, S., et al. (1987). Life threat and posttraumatic stress in school-age children. Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 1057–1063.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Shaw, J. A., Applegate, B., & Schorr, C. (1996). Twenty-one-month follow-up study of the schoolage children exposed to Hurricane Andrew. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35, 359–364.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Haworth Press 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caleb W. Lack
    • 1
  • Maureen A. Sullivan
    • 2
  • Laura A. Knight
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesArkansas Tech UniversityRussellvilleUSA
  2. 2.Oklahoma State UniversityUSA
  3. 3.University of MichiganUSA

Personalised recommendations