Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents

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clinician-administered ptsd scale for children and adolescents

Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents

31406G CAPS-CA Interviewer's Guide
31406M CAPS-CA Technical Manual
31406 Clinician-Admin. PTSD Scale-Children & Adoles. (CAPS-CA) Kit
31406I CAPS-CA Interview Booklets, Pk/10


Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents (CAPS-CA)

Developed at the National Center for PTSD and the UCLA Trauma Psychiatry Program, the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Children and Adolescents (CAPS-CA) is the standard tool for assessing posttraumatic stress disorder in 8- to 15-year-olds. Like its counterpart for adults (Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS)), this user-friendly semistructured interview is ideal for screening, differential diagnosis, confirmation of a PTSD diagnosis, or identifying Acute Stress Disorder.

DSM-IV Criteria for PTSD
The CAPS-CA consists of 36 carefully worded interview questions that target DSM-IV criteria for PTSD without leading the respondent. These items assess the frequency and intensity of 17 PTSD symptoms and their impact on developmental, social, and academic functioning.

In adapting the CAPS for use with children, the authors modified some items, added picture response options, and included several practice questions to familiarize children with the interview format. The CAPS-CA, which takes about 45 minutes to administer, helps clinicians evaluate reports of exposure to trauma, assess overall symptom severity, and determine whether a current or lifetime diagnosis of PTSD is indicated. In addition, it includes a protocol for assessing Criterion A, a diagnostic requirement that the child or adolescent has experienced at least one traumatic event involving both life threat or serious injury and an overwhelming emotional response. The scale also offers a Life Events Checklist, with just 17 items, that can help identify precipitating traumatic events. Like the adult form, the CAPS-CA is sensitive to clinical change and therefore useful in monitoring treatment progress.

International Acceptance
The CAPS-CA has gained international acceptance because it is psychometrically sound and because it is flexible and easy to use. It provides several administration and scoring options suited to various clinical needs. For example, you might choose a comprehensive administration or assess Criteria A-F only. You might check just the 17 core symptoms or measure symptoms within various time frames. You might choose to obtain continuous severity scores for individual symptoms, symptom clusters, or the entire PTSD syndrome. In addition, different scoring rules (lenient to stringent) can be used for different assessment tasks (screening versus diagnosis, for example).

Supported by 10 years of research, the CAPS-CA is a highly useful and flexible tool for evaluating PTSD in children and younger adolescents.