Special communication| Volume 91, ISSUE 11, P1684-1691, November 2010

Common Data Elements for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Research


      Kaloupek DG, Chard KM, Freed MC, Peterson AL, Riggs DS, Stein MB, Tuma F. Common data elements for posttraumatic stress disorder research.
      An expert work group with 7 members was formed under the cosponsorship of 5 U.S. federal agencies to identify common data elements for research related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The work group reviewed both previous and contemporary measurement standardization efforts for PTSD research and engaged in a series of electronic and live discussions to address a set of predefined aims. Eight construct domains relevant to PTSD were identified: (1) traditional demographics, (2) exposure to stressors and trauma, (3) potential stress moderators, (4) trauma assessment, (5) PTSD screening, (6) PTSD symptoms and diagnosis, (7) PTSD-related functioning and disability, and (8) mental health history. Measures assigned to the core data elements category have relatively low time-and-effort costs in order to make them potentially applicable across a wide range of studies for which PTSD is a relevant condition. Measures assigned to the supplemental data elements category have greater costs but generally demonstrate stronger psychometric performance and provide more extensive information. Accordingly, measures designated as supplemental are recommended instead of or in addition to corresponding core measures whenever resources and study design allow. The work group offered 4 caveats that highlight potential limitations and emphasize the voluntary nature of standardization for PTSD-related measurement.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      CAPS (Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Scale), CES (Combat Exposure Scale), CTQ (Childhood Trauma Questionnaire), DoD (Department of Defense), DRRI (Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory), DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition), ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision), INTRuST (Injury and Traumatic Stress Clinical Consortium), LEC (Life Events Checklist), PCL (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist), PCL-C (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Civilian), PCL-M (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Military), PCL-S (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Specific Event), PC-PTSD (Primary Care Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Screen), PDS (Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale), PSS-I (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale Interview Version), PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), SDS (Sheehan Disability Scale), SES (socioeconomic status), SF-12 (Medical Outcomes Study–Short Form (12-item version)), SF-36 (Medical Outcomes Study–Short Form (36-item version)), STRONG STAR (South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience), TBI (traumatic brain injury), TLEQ (Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire), VA (Department of Veterans Affairs), VR-12 (Veterans RAND Health Survey–Short Form (12-item version)), VR-36 (Veterans RAND Health Survey–Short Form (36-item version))
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