Evaluation of Screening Tests for PTSD

  • Scott D. McDonaldEmail author
  • Emily L. Gentes
  • Patrick S. Calhoun
Reference work entry


Screening programs are an essential component of preventative medicine for conditions of public health importance. For a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) screening program to be effective, valid screening tests are essential. Thus, it is essential for clinicians to be aware of how to evaluate studies of screening test utility for applicability and validity. This chapter (1) reviews the principal components of a diagnostic accuracy study for a screening test, (2) describes the method for finding appropriate diagnostic accuracy studies for a screening test of interest, and (3) outlines how to evaluate the quality and applicability of diagnostic accuracy studies for PTSD screening tests.


Posttraumatic stress disorder Test validity Differential diagnosis Sensitivity and specificity Diagnostic efficiency 

List of Abbreviations


Clinician Administered PTSD Scale


Confidence interval


Clinical practice guideline


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


Negative likelihood ratio


Positive likelihood ratio


PTSD Checklist


Primary care PTSD screen


Post-traumatic stress disorder


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott D. McDonald
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily L. Gentes
    • 2
  • Patrick S. Calhoun
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology Section (116-B)McGuire VA Medical Center, Mental Health ServiceRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Durham VA Medical CenterVA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical CenterDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Durham VA Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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