Evidence based assessment/Instruments/UCLA post-traumatic stress disorder reaction index
The University of California at Los Angeles post-traumatic stress disorder reaction index (abbreviated as the UCLA PTSD Index) is a psychiatric assessment tool used to assess symptoms of PTSD in children and adolescents. This assessment consists of three indexes: a children's index, an adolescent's index, and a parent index. Questions may differ among the indexes depending on the target age, however the indexes are identical in format. The target age groups for this assessment are children between 7-12 and adolescents above age 13. The UCLA PTSD Index has also been translated into Spanish and Arabic.
The UCLA PTSD Index has been updated for the DSM-5.
Question breakdown and interpretation
Each index is composed of three parts. The first section part a list of frightening or dangerous events and asks the respondent to indicate which items from the list they have experienced. It screens for lifetime trauma, allowing for trauma exposure to be categorized into either community violence, natural disasters, medical trauma, and abuse. Once the trauma exposure has been categorized and identified, a follow up interview will focus in on the results of this section, allowing for clinicians to specify questions. This part also establishes whether a traumatic event was experienced or not.
The second part asks the respondent to explain the incident from section one and to answer a set of questions about his/her reactions and emotions during and immediately following the event. The third part asks the respondent how frequently they experienced common responses that align with the traumatic event on a Likert scale ranging from 0 (None) to 4 (Most). Two additional symptom questions were added to part 2 of the adolescent version because authors of the index found through their research that guilt and recurrence of the trauma are salient components to PTSD in adolescents, affecting the child’s view of the trauma and the degree to which the experience traumatized the child.
According to the DSM-IV, there are specific criteria that must be met in order for an individual to be diagnosed with PTSD. Certain questions in the UCLA PTSD Index address these criteria. The breakdown is as follows:
- Criteria A, exposure to traumatic event: at least one yes in section one and at least one yes in section two
- Criteria B, re-experiencing: at least one symptom from section 3 questions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 18 (as well as 21 on the parent version)
- Criteria C, avoidance: at least one symptom from section 3 questions 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11, 15, 17, 19
- Criteria D, increased arousal: at least two symptoms from section 3 questions 1, 4, 12, 13, 16
If all four criteria are present then a full PTSD diagnosis is very likely. A partial PTSD diagnosis is likely if the respondent exhibits criteria A along with either B and C, C and D, or D and B.
- "Child and adolescent trauma measures: A review" (PDF). National Center for Social Work Trauma Education and Workforce Development.
- Steinberg, Alan (2004). "The University of California at Los Angeles Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index". Current Psychiatry Reports 6: 96–100. doi:10.1007/s11920-004-0048-2. PMID 15038911.