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Non-clinical normative data for ptsd checklist-5 (pcl-5)

1 January 2016


Previous research on the PTSD Checklist-5 (PCL-5) (Weathers et al., 2013) does not include non-clinical normative data; therefore, clinicians are unable to utilize the recommended Cutoff C calculation (Jacobson & Truax, 1991) to calculate a clinical cutoff score for their clients’ PCL-5 scores. Further, previous research on the PCL-5 recommends values to determine clinical change; however, the recommended values are not calculated using a Reliable Change Index (RCI). The purpose of this study was to collect data from a non-clinical population to aid in the process of determining a RCI and clinical cutoff score for the PCL-5. Two non-clinical samples were available: individuals who had experienced a trauma but were not in mental health treatment, and individuals who had not experienced a trauma and were also not in treatment. For treatment outcome purposes, the non-clinical sample that endorsed a traumatic experience was determined to be the most likely comparison group for a clinical trauma sample, although a proposed clinical cutoff was calculated for each group. Results revealed a RCI of 12, indicating that a 12-point change between PCL-5 pretest and posttest scores is indicative of reliable change. Further, results determined a clinical cutoff score of 27, which suggests scores of 27 or above are more likely to fall within the clinical population and scores below 27 are more likely to fall within the non-clinical population. The findings of this study could be used to aid clinician use of the PCL-5 for evaluating treatment outcome.


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