HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Exploring optimum cut-off scores to screen for probable posttraumatic stress disorder within a sample of UK treatment-seeking veterans

Article

This research explores screening for probably posttraumatic stress disorder in UK veterans seeking treatment.

Abstract

Previous research exploring the psychometric properties of the scores of measures of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggests there is variation in their functioning depending on the target population. To date, there has been little study of these properties within UK veteran populations. This study aimed to determine optimally efficient cut-off values for the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) that can be used to assess for differential diagnosis of presumptive PTSD. The optimal cut-off scores observed within this sample were 34 or above on the PCL-5 and 46 or above on the IES-R. The PCL-5 cut-off is similar to the previously reported values, but the IES-R cut-off identified in this study is higher than has previously been recommended. Overall, a moderate level of agreement was found between participants screened positive using the DSM-IV and DSM-5 classification systems of PTSD. Our findings suggest that the PCL-5 and IES-R can be used as brief measures within veteran populations presenting at secondary care to assess for PTSD. The use of a higher cut-off for the IES-R may be helpful for differentiating between veterans who present with PTSD and those who may have some sy`mptoms of PTSD but are sub-threshold for meeting a diagnosis. Further, the use of more accurate optimal cut-offs may aid clinicians to better monitor changes in PTSD symptoms during and after treatment.

Full Reference

Murphy, D., Ross, J., Ashwick, R., Armour, C. and Busuttil, W., 2017. Exploring optimum cut-off scores to screen for probable posttraumatic stress disorder within a sample of UK treatment-seeking veterans. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8:1, 1398001, DOI: 10.108020008198.2017.1398001.