Screening for posttraumatic stress disorder in VA primary care patients with depression symptoms

Martha S. Gerrity, Kathryn Corson, Steven Dobscha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Unrecognized posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common and may be an important factor in treatment-resistant depression. Brief screens for PTSD have not been evaluated for patients with depression. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate a 4-item screen for PTSD in patients with depression. DESIGN: Baseline data from a depression study were used to evaluate sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios (LRs) using the PTSD checklist (PCL-17) as the reference standard. SUBJECTS: Subjects are 398 depressed patients seen in Veterans Affairs (VA) primary care clinics. MEASURES: The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) for depression, PCL-17, and 4-item screen for PTSD were used. RESULTS: Patients had a mean PHQ score of 14.8 (SD 3.7). Using a conservative PCL-17 cut point "(>50)", the prevalence of PTSD was 37%. PCL-17 scores were strongly associated with PHQ scores (r=0.59, P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1324
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


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