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Trauma-Related Cognitions Scale


The Trauma-Related Cognitions Scale (TRCS) provides a measure of trauma-related beliefs associated with the following cognitive processes: overaccommodation, assimilation, accommodation, and optimism. The TRCS was developed over the course of four phases with university students, online samples, and clinical samples.

Author/Publisher Details

Valdez, London, Gregorich, & Lilly (2021)
Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250221
Corresponding author: [email protected]




The Trauma-related Cognitions and Beliefs scale (TRCS) is a self-administered assessment for clinical and non-clinical individuals, 18 years of age and older.  The TRCS is a 69-item multi-dimensional measure that assesses three theoretical trauma-related cognitive processes of overaccommodation (25 items), assimilation (13 items), and accommodation (15 items), as well as an additional belief set of optimism (16 items). It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.  A Spanish verion of the TRCS is available from the corresponding author. 


The measure can be freely accessed by clicking here

Scoring and Interpretation

The TRCS consists of four subscales. To compute the subscales, sum the items within each subscale and divide by the number of items to compute mean scale-score values.
  • Overaccommodation: Mean of the following items: 2, 3, 12, 13, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 37, 41, 43, 47, 49, 51, 54, 56, 60, 61, 64, 65.
  • Assimilation: Mean of the following items: 4, 8, 16, 17, 20, 23, 31, 38, 44, 52, 55, 57, 59.
  • AccommodationMean of the following items: 6, 9, 14, 33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 50, 58, 62, 63, 67, 69.
  • Optimism: Mean of the following items: 1, 5, 7, 10, 11, 15, 18, 28, 29, 30, 35, 40, 46, 53, 66, 68.
There are no diagnostic or severity cut off scores.


Items from the TRCS were gathered from previously validated trauma-related cognition measures in open access and additional item generation. The measure was refined through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across non-clinical student and online samples, and a clinical sample seeking trauma-focused therapy for acute interpersonal trauma. There is preliminary evidence for a 51-item TRCS measure in a clinical sample, but further research is needed to develop a shorter form.
  • Reliability in non-clinical sample: α =.84 (optimism) to .97 (overaccommodation)
  • Reliability in clinical sample: α = .62 (accommodation) to .92 (overaccommodation)
  • Known-groups validity: Those with exposure to interpersonal trauma report significantly more overaccommodation, assimilation, and accommodation.
  • Convergent validity: Subscales correlate significantly and in expected directions with measures of trauma- and attachment-related beliefs, personality factors, and trait anxiety.
  • Concurrent validity: The TRCS subscales correlate significantly and in expected directions with measures of resilience, depression, and posttraumatic stress.
  • Incremental validity: Overaccommodation and Assimilation are unique predictors of posttraumatic stress after controlling for trauma- and attachment-related beliefs

Key/Core References   

Valdez CE, London MJ, Gregorich SE, Lilly MM (2021), Development and validation of the
Trauma-Related Cognitions Scale. PLoS ONE 16(4): e0250221.


No manual exists for the TRCS; it is used in the same way as other self report scales and is self-explanatory. For advice on interpretation, see above and refer to key references.