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Scoring the Life Events Checklist: Comparison of three scoring methods. Psychol Trauma 2021 Jun 24



Pubmed ID





OBJECTIVE: Prior trauma history is a reliable and robust risk predictor for PTSD development. Obtaining an accurate measurement of prior trauma history is critical in research of trauma-related outcomes. The Life Events Checklist (LEC) is a widely used self-report measure of trauma history that categorizes events by the proximity to trauma exposure; however, the field has published multiple scoring methods when assessing the LEC. Herein, we propose a novel scoring procedure in which total scores from the LEC are weighted according to the proximity of trauma exposure with "experienced" events weighted most and "learned about" events weighted least.

METHOD: The utility of this weighted score was assessed in two traumatically-injured civilian samples and compared against previously published scoring methods, including a nonweighted score including all events experienced, witnessed, and learned about, as well as a score consisting of only experienced events.

RESULTS: Results indicated the standard total score was most reliable, followed by the weighted score. The experienced events score was least reliable, but the best predictor of future PTSD symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: One method to balance the predictive strength of experienced events and the excellent reliability of a total LEC score, is to adopt the newly proposed weighted score. Future use of this weighted scoring method can provide a comprehensive estimate of lifetime trauma exposure while still emphasizing the direct proximity of experienced events compared with other degrees of exposure. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Author List

Weis CN, Webb EK, Stevens SK, Larson CL, deRoon-Cassini TA


Carissa N. Weis PhD Assistant Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Terri A. deRoon Cassini PhD Center Director, Associate Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin