PTSD Checklist for DSM V (PCL-5)

CPP Cohort 1

The PTSD Checklist for DSM V (PCL-5)* is a 20-item self-report measure for adult caregivers.  It assesses the presence of PTSD symptoms in the caregiver and is appropriately used as an assessment for screening, monitoring symptoms, and providing a provisional diagnosis.  The PCL-5 is still undergoing psychometric research to measure its validity; at this time, it is generally accepted that 38 is a reasonable cutoff value for Overall Diagnosis Level.

Descriptive Statistics:  Pre- and post-treatment assessment measure means, standard deviations, and standard errors for the Intrusion Symptoms, Avoidance Symptoms, Negative Alterations in Cognitions and Mood, and Alterations in Arousal and Reactivity subscales and Overall Diagnosis Level of the PCL-5 are listed in the table below, as well as the range of possible scores and the probable clinically significant range for each subscale.

PCL-5 Subscales: Descriptive Statistics

Repeated Measures Analyses:  Paired samples t-tests were conducted to examine pre-post group mean differences on PCL-5 subscales and Overall Diagnosis Level.  Analyses showed statistically significant improvement in intrusion symptoms, avoidance symptoms, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, alterations in arousal and reactivity, and overall diagnosis level. Please see the table and graph below for more information on these analyses.

PCL-5 Subscales: Paired t-tests

PCL-5 Subscales: Pre-post Treatment Mean Scores

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001

PCL-5: Pre-Post Treatment Mean Total Score

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001

Individual Clinically-Significant Change:

At pre-treatment, 10 clients had PCL-5 Overall Diagnosis Level scores at or above the clinical cut-off of 38.  No clients were missing post-treatment data for this scale.  Analysis showed that the PCL-5 Overall Diagnosis Level score for 10 of these 10 clients (100%) decreased to non-clinically significant levels by post-treatment.

Clinical significance was not able to be determined for the subscales of Intrusion Symptoms, Avoidance Symptoms, Negative Alterations in Cognition and Mood, and Alterations in Arousal and Reactivity, because clinical cut-offs are the number of individual items scored; this data was not collected by the North Carolina Child Treatment Program.


* Weathers, F. W., Litz, B. T., Keane, T. M., Palmieri, P. A., Marx, B. P., & Schnurr, P. P. (2013). The PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) – Standard [Measurement instrument]. Available from


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