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NDACAN Measure Details

Trauma Symptom Checklist (TSC-40)


The Trauma Symptom Checklist-40 measures aspects of post-traumatic stress and other symptom clusters in adults who have experienced childhood or adult traumatic experiences. The TSC-40 is a self-administered questionnaire for parents/caregivers, and their scores form six subscales: (1) anxiety, (2) depression, (3) dissociation, (4) Sexual Abuse Trauma Index (SATI), (5) sexual problems, (6) sleep disturbance. The questionnaire also tabulates a total score. Parents/caregivers are asked to rate each item based on how frequently it has occurred over the past two months, using a four-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (never) to 3 (often). The adults are asked “How often have you experienced each of the following in the last two months?” and then are asked to identify the frequency with which symptoms such as “headaches,” “sadness,” or “anxiety attacks” have been occurring. The TSC-40 is a 40-item inventory that requires approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The subscale alphas range from 0.66 to 0.77, with reliabilities for the full scale averaging between 0.89 and 0.91 (Elliott and Briere 1992). The TSC-40 displays predictive, criterion-related, and convergent validity (Zlotnick et al. 1996; Gold et al. 1994). Elliott and Briere (1992) have studied the TSC-40 in a large sample of professional women (N=2,963). The authors found that the measure discriminates between women who have and have not been abused as children, which held across all subscales and the total scale. Similarly, Gold et al. (1994) administered the TSC-40 to 669 female college students, divided into groups with no sexual assault or abuse (N=438), and those who had experienced sexual abuse or trauma as a child, adult, or both. They found that the measure discriminated between all groups and showed significant differences except on the sleep disturbance subscale.


Briere, J., & Runtz, M. (1989). The Trauma Symptom Checklist (TSC-33): Early data on a new scale. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 151-163. doi:

Elliott, D., & Briere, J. (1992). Sexual abuse trauma among professional women: validating the trauma symptom checklist-40 (TSC-40). Child Abuse and Neglect, 16, 391-398. doi: