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Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) by…
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Developed at the National Center for PTSD, the Clinician- Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) has become the "gold standard" for assessing posttraumatic stress disorder in individuals over age 15. This user-friendly structured interview is ideal for screening, differential diagnosis, confirmation of a PTSD diagnosis, or identifying Acute Stress Disorder.

DSM-IV Criteria for PTSD
The CAPS consists of 30 carefully worded interview questions that target DSM-IV criteria for PTSD without leading the respondent. These items assess core PTSD symptoms and related issues:

Reexperiencing Symptoms

Avoidance and Numbing Symptoms

Hyperarousal Symptoms

Trauma-Related Guilt

Dissociation

Subjective Distress

Functional Impairment

Onset

Duration

Symptom Severity

Symptom Improvement

Response Validity

The interview gives you a clear picture of symptom severity and sufficient information to determine whether a current or lifetime diagnosis of PTSD is indicated. In addition, the CAPS includes a protocol for assessing Criterion A, a diagnostic requirement that the patient has experienced at least one traumatic event involving both life threat or serious injury and an overwhelming emotional response. The scale also offers an optional Life Events Checklist, with just 17 items, that can be completed by the patient to help identify precipitating traumatic events.

While the CAPS is designed for use with older adolescents and adults, there is a version of the interview that is appropriate for use with children and younger adolescents (ages 8 to 15). The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents (CAPS-CA) is a semistructured interview that assesses the frequency and intensity of PTSD symptoms and their impact on developmental, social, and academic functioning. It helps clinicians evaluate reports of exposure to trauma, assess overall symptom severity, and determine whether a current or lifetime diagnosis of PTSD is indicated. Like the adult form, the CAPS-CA is sensitive to clinical change and therefore useful in monitoring treatment progress.

International Acceptance
Although initially developed with combat veterans, the CAPS has been successfully used with many trauma populations, including victims of rape, car accidents, incest, torture, cancer, and the Holocaust. It has gained international acceptance because it is psychometrically sound and because it is flexible and easy to use. The CAPS provides several administration and scoring options suited to various clinical needs. For example, you might choose a comprehensive administration or assess Criteria A-F only. You might check just the 17 core symptoms or measure symptoms within various time frames. You might choose to obtain continuous severity scores for individual symptoms, symptom clusters, or the entire PTSD syndrome. In addition, different scoring rules (lenient to stringent) can be used for different assessment tasks (screening versus diagnosis, for example).

Supported by 10 years of research, the CAPS is a highly useful and flexible tool for evaluating PTSD.
  Frankdk | May 13, 2012 |
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