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Psychometric Properties of the PCL-5 in a Sample of First Responders

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2021

Since first responders experience elevated rates of posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide, creating a need for evidence-based assessments and treatments to accurately assess, diagnose, and evaluate treatment outcome, the current study examined the psychometric properties of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) in a sample of 133 firefighters/emergency medical technicians and police officers seeking treatment for PTSD.


The study found that PCL-5 scores showed strong internal consistency and convergent and discriminant validity. Signal detection analyses indicated a good diagnostic accuracy and an optimal cutoff score of 41 for detecting PTSD. Consistent with recent studies, confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the anhedonia model of PTSD best fit the data. Overall, findings support use of the PCL-5 as a psychometrically sound measure of PTSD in individuals at high risk for exposure to trauma. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2021