This study aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C; Weathers, Litz, Herman, Huska, & Keane, 1993) and to establish the most accurate cutoff for prevalence estimation of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a representative military sample compared to a clinical interview. Danish soldiers (N = 415; 94.4% male, mean age 26.6 years) were assessed with the PCL-C and the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV (SCID; First, Spitzer, Gibbon, & Williams, 2002) 2.5 years after their return from deployment to Afghanistan. Diagnostic accuracy of the PCL-C was assessed through receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. The PCL-C displayed high overall accuracy (area under the curve = .95, confidence interval [.92, .98]) and performed well (sensitivity > .70 and specificity ≥ .90), with cutoff scores ranging from 37 to 44. When including sensitivity values a little below .70 (.69), the PCL-C performed well for cutoff levels up to 53. Prevalence of PTSD varied considerably with the application of different cutoff values and scoring methods. Our results show that the PCL-C is a relevant and valid tool for screening for probable PTSD in active military samples. However, it is of great importance that cutoff scores be chosen based on the sample and the purpose of the particular study or screening.
Psychological Assessment, 2014, Vol 26, Issue 1, p. 321-5