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Home > Clinical Resources > Trauma Assessment > Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 – Child and Adolescent Version (CAPS-CA-5)

Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 – Child and Adolescent Version (CAPS-CA-5)

The CAPS-CA-5 is a 30-item clinician-administered PTSD scale based upon DSM-5 criteria for children and adolescents ages 7 and above. It is a modified version of the CAPS-5 that includes age appropriate items and picture response options. Recommended trauma history measures are noted to assist with identifying an index traumatic event.

Access to CAPS-CA-5

The CAPS-CA-5 is available from the National Center for PTSD

Author/Publisher Details   

National Center for PTSD, Boston, USA

Date   

2015

Description   

Similar to the CAPS-5, the CAPS-CA-5 assesses the 20 DSM-5 PTSD symptoms. For each symptom, standardized questions and probes are provided. In addition, questions target the onset and duration of symptoms, subjective distress, impact of symptoms on social functioning, impairment in development, overall response validity, overall PTSD severity, improvement in symptoms since a previous CAPS administration, and specifications for the dissociative subtype (depersonalization and derealization).

The CAPS-CA-5 was designed to be administered by clinicians and clinical researchers who have a working knowledge of PTSD but can also be administered by appropriately trained paraprofessionals.

Scoring

Detailed scoring information is included with the CAPS-CA-5 and should be reviewed carefully before administering.

Briefly, the assessor combines information about frequency and intensity of an item into a single severity rating. CAPS-CA-5 total symptom severity score is calculated by summing severity scores for the 20 DSM-5 PTSD symptoms. Similarly, CAPS-CA-5 symptom cluster severity scores are calculated by summing the individual item severity scores for symptoms corresponding to a given DSM-5 cluster:

  • Criterion B (items 1-5)
  • Criterion C (items 6-7)
  • Criterion D (items 8-14)
  • Criterion E (items 15-20)

A symptom cluster score may also be calculated for dissociation by summing items 29 and 30. PTSD diagnostic status is determined by first dichotomizing each symptom as "present" or "absent," then following the DSM-5 diagnostic rule. A symptom is considered present only if the corresponding item severity score is rated 2 ("moderate/threshold") or higher.

The DSM-5 PTSD diagnostic rule requires:

  • At least one Criterion B symptom
  • At least one Criterion C symptom
  • At least two Criterion D symptoms
  • At least two Criterion E symptoms
  • Criterion F is met (disturbance has lasted one month)
  • Criterion G is met (disturbance causes either clinically significant distress or functional impairment)

Sample Item

In the past month, have you had upsetting thoughts, pictures or sounds of what happened come into your mind when you didn't want them to? Did this happen while you were awake, so not counting dreams?
  • How did these upsetting thoughts, pictures or sounds of what happened come into your mind?
    • [If not clear]: Do these unwanted thoughts, pictures or sounds just pop into your head, or do you think about what happened on purpose?
  • How much do these thoughts, pictures or sounds bother you?
  • Are you able to put these thoughts, pictures or sounds your mind and think about something else?
  • How often have you had these thoughts, pictures or sounds come into your mind in the past month?

Severity Rating

0. Absent: The respondent denied the problem or the respondent's report doesn't fit the DSM-5 symptom criterion.

1. Mild / subthreshold: The respondent described a problem that is consistent with the symptom criterion but isn't severe enough to be considered clinically significant. The problem doesn't satisfy the DSM-5 symptom criterion and thus doesn't count toward a PTSD diagnosis.

2. Moderate / threshold:The respondent described a clinically significant problem. The problem satisfies the DSM-5 symptom criterion and thus counts toward a PTSD diagnosis. The problem would be a target for intervention. This rating requires a minimum frequency of 2 x month or some of the time (20-30%) PLUS a minimum intensity of Clearly Present.

3. Severe / markedly elevated:The respondent described a problem that is above threshold. The problem is difficult to manage and at times overwhelming, and would be a prominent target for intervention. This rating requires a minimum frequency of 2 x week or much of the time (50-60%) PLUS a minimum intensity of Pronounced.

4. Extreme / incapacitating: The respondent described a dramatic symptom, far above threshold. The problem is pervasive, unmanageable, and overwhelming, and would be a high-priority target for intervention.

Psychometrics

The CAPS-CA-5 was based on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale developed (CAPS-5) for use with adults. The CAPS-CA-5 has strong psychometric properties.

References

Pynoos, R. S., Weathers, F. W., Steinberg, A. M., Marx, B. P., Layne, C. M., Kaloupek, D. G., Schnurr, P. P., Keane, T. M., Blake, D. D., Newman, E., Nader, K. O., & Kriegler, J. A. (2015). Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 - Child/Adolescent Version. Scale available from the National Center for PTSD at www.ptsd.va.gov.

Further Information    

To learn about giving a CAPS-5 assessment, see Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) Clinician Training.

Manual  

This measure was created by staff at VA's National Center for PTSD. To obtain the manual for this scale, please complete the online request form.