The Impact of Event Scale-revised (IES-R) is one of the most widely used measures of posttraumatic stress reactions. However, for some purposes, such as large epidemiological studies, there is a need for briefer instruments. The aim of this study was to develop and validate an abbreviated version of the IES-R that could capture the three current symptom clusters of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Stepwise multiple regression was applied to abbreviate the IES-R in one sample. The abbreviated version was then tested in three separate samples of individuals exposed to different kinds of potentially traumatic events. Agreement with a reference measure of PTSD, the PTSD checklist (PCL), was calculated for the abbreviated and the full-scale versions of IES.
The abbreviation procedure resulted in a subset of six items (the IES-6), which correlated highly (pooled correlation = 0.95) with the IES-R across samples. Correlations between the IES-6 and IES-R subscales were somewhat lower (r = 0.78–0.94). Both the IES-6 and IES-R were in high agreement with the PCL.
The IES-6 appears to be a robust brief measure of posttraumatic stress reactions. It may be useful for research in epidemiological studies, and it may also have a role as a screening instrument in clinical practice.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Weathers FW, Keane TM (2007) The Criterion A problem revisited: controversies and challenges in defining and measuring psychological trauma. J Trauma Stress 20:107–121
Kessler RC (2000) Posttraumatic stress disorder: the burden to the individual and to society. J Clin Psychiatry (Suppl 5:4) 61:13–14
Weiss DS (2004) The Impact of Event Scale-revised. In: Wilson JP, Keane TM (eds) Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD, 2nd edn. Guilford, New York
Horowitz MJ, Wilner NR, Alvarez W (1979) Impact of Event Scale. A measure of subjective stress. Psychosom Med 41:209–218
Weiss DS, Marmar CR (1996) Impact of Event Scale-revised (IES-R) (http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/assmnts/impact_of_events_scale_revised_iesr.html). Accessed 29 February 2008
Wohlfarth TD, van den Brink W, Winkel FW, Ter Smitten M (2003) Screening for posttraumatic stress disorder: an evaluation of two self-report scales among crime victims. Psychol Assess 15:101–109
Brewin CR (2005) Systematic review of screening instruments for adults at risk of PTSD. J Trauma Stress 18:53–62
Beck JG, Grand DM, Read JP, Clapp JD, Goffey SF, Miller LM, Paylo SA (2008) The Impact of Event Scale-revised: psychometric properties in a sample of motor vehicle accident survivors. J Anxiety Disord 22:187–198
Rash CJ, Coffey SF, Baschnagel JS, Drobes DJ, Saladin ME (2008) Psychometric properties of the IES-R in traumatized substance dependent individuals with and without PTSD. Addict Behav 33:1039–1047
Asukai N, Kato H, Kawamura N, Kim Y, Yamamoto K, Kishimoto J, Miyake Y, Nishizono-Maher A (2002) Reliability and validity of the Japanese-language version of the Impact of Event Scale-revised (IES-R-J): four studies of different traumatic events. J Nerv Ment Dis 190:175–182
Brunet A, St-Hilaire A, Jehel L, King S (2003) Validation of a French version of the Impact of Event Scale-revised. Can J Psychiatr 48:56–61
Wu KK, Chan KS (2003) The development of the Chinese version of Impact of Event Scale-revised (CIES-R). Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 38:94–98
Norris FH, Hamblen JL (2004) Standardized self-report measures of civilian trauma and PTSD. In: Wilson JP, Keane TM (eds) Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD, 2nd edn. Guilford, New York
Meltzer-Brody S, Churchilll E, Davidson JRT (1999) Derivation of the SPAN, a brief diagnostic screening test for posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry Res 88:63–70
Chen CH, Shen WW, Tan HK, Chou JY, Lu ML (2003) The validation study and application of stratum-specific likelihood ratios in the Chinese version of SPAN. Compr Psychiatry 44:78–81
Yeager DE, Magruder KM, Knapp RG, Nicholas JS, Frueh C (2007) Performance characteristics of the posttraumatic stress disorder checklist and SPAN in Veterans Affairs primary care settings. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 29:294–301
Weathers F, Litz B, Herman D, Huska J, Keane T (1993) The PTSD checklist (PCL): reliability, validity, and diagnostic utility. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, San Antonio
Lang AJ, Stein MB (2005) An abbreviated PTSD checklist for use as a screening instrument in primary care. Behav Res Ther 43:585–594
Bliese PD, Wright KM, Adler AB, Cabrera O, Castro CA, Hoge CW (2008) Validating the primary care posttraumatic stress disorder screen and the posttraumatic stress disorder checklist with soldiers returning from combat. J Consult Clin Psychol 76:272–281
Brewin CR, Rose S, Andrews B, Green J, Tata P, McEvedy C, Foa EB (2002) Brief screening instrument for posttraumatic stress disorder. Br J Psychiatry 181:158–162
Foa EB, Riggs DS, Dancu DV, Rothbaum BO (1993) Reliability and validity of a brief instrument for assessing posttraumatic stress disorder. J Trauma Stress 6:459–473
Walters JTR, Bisson JI, Shepherd JP (2007) Predicting posttraumatic stress disorder: validation of the trauma screening questionnaire in victims of assault. Psychol Med 37:143–150
Johansen VA, Wahl AK, Eilertsen DE, Hanestad BR, Weisæth L (2006) Acute psychological reactions in assault victims of non-domestic violence: peritraumatic dissociation, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. Nord J Psychiatry 60:452–462
Heir T, Weisæth L (2008) Acute disaster exposure and mental health complaints of Norwegian tsunami survivors 6 months post disaster. Psychiatry 71(3):266–276
Thoresen S, Tønnessen A, Lindgaard CV, Andreassen AL, Weisæth L (2009) Stressful but rewarding: Norwegian personnel mobilised for the 2004 tsunami disaster. Disasters (Online early view November 2008) (in press)
National Center for PTSD. PTSD Checklist (PCL, civilian: PCL-C, military, PCL-M, specific: PCL-S). 2008. http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/assmnts/ptsd_checklist_pcl.html. Accessed 18 August 2008)
Keane TM, Caddell JM, Taylor KL (1988) Mississippi scale for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: three studies in reliability and validity. J Consult Clin Psychol 56:85–90
Dobie DJ, Kivlahan DR, Maynard C, Bush KR, McFall M, Epler AJ, Bradley KA (2002) Screening for post-traumatic stress disorder in female Veteran’s Affairs patients: validation of the PTSD checklist. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 24:367–374
Walker EA, Newman E, Dobie DJ, Ciechanowski P, Katon W (2002) Validation of the PTSD checklist in an HMO sample of women. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 24:375–380
Cook JM, Elhai JD, Areán PA (2003) Psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist with older primary care patients. J Trauma Stress 18:371–376
Blanchard EB, Jones-Alexander J, Buckley TC, Forneris CA (1996) Psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL). Behav Res Ther 34:669–673
Terhakopian A, Sinaii N, Engel CC, Schnurr PP, Hoge CW (2008) Estimating population prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder: an example using the PTSD checklist. J Trauma Stress 21:290–300
Switzer GE, Wisniewski SR, Belle SH, Dew MA, Schultz R (1999) Selecting, developing, and evaluating research instruments. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 34:399–409
Strahan R (1971) Subject satisfaction with questionnaire assessment a function of response format. Proceedings of the annual convention of the American Psychological Association 6(Pt1):125–126
Velicer WF, Diclemente CC, Corriveau DP (1984) Item format and the structure of the personal orientation inventory. Appl Psychol Meas 8:409–418
Foa EB, Cashman L, Jaycox L, Perry K (1997) The validation of a self-report measure of posttraumatic stress disorder: the posttraumatic diagnostic scale. Psychol Assess 9:445–451
Asmundson GJG, Stapleton JA, Taylor S (2004) Are avoidance and numbing distinct PTSD symptom clusters? J Trauma Stress 6:475–476
Studies 1 and 2 were supported by the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs. Study 3 was financed by Buskerud University College, Norway. Study 4 had no financial support to declare.
Conflict of interest statement
About this article
Cite this article
Thoresen, S., Tambs, K., Hussain, A. et al. Brief measure of posttraumatic stress reactions: Impact of Event Scale-6. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol 45, 405–412 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-009-0073-x
- Stress disorders