Trauma-Informed Assessment Scales

We’ve been building our assessment library with more trauma measures, most recently adding the Adverse Childhood Experience Questionnaire (ACE-Q) to help clinicians assess historical instances of childhood trauma. I hope you find this addition useful, as well as our existing PTSD and related measures below:

  1. Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACE-Q)
  2. International Trauma Questionnaire (ITQ)
  3. The Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R)
  4. PTSD Checklist 5 (PCL-5)
  5. Dissociative Experiences Scale – II (DES-II)

Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACE-Q)

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACE-Q) is a 10-item measure to quantify instances of adverse or traumatic experiences that the client has had before the age of 18. The ACE-Q checks for the client’s exposure to childhood psychological, physical, and sexual abuse as well as household dysfunction including domestic violence, substance use, and incarceration.

The ACE-Q can be administered in a self-report manner (for adults or teenagers) or can be reported by parents to indicate the experiences of their child. Given some of the questions may be triggering for trauma clients, some clinicians may opt to read the questions to the client and answer the ACE-Q in a collaborative way rather than request self-report.

Clinically, the ACE-Q can be used to help inform treatment because of the connection between adverse childhood experiences, social issues, and adult mental and physical health. People with high scores are likely to benefit from interventions that support their mental health and promote the development of adaptive behaviours.

View ACE-Q

International Trauma Questionnaire

The International Trauma Questionnaire (ITQ) is an 18 item self-report measure focusing on the core features of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD). It was developed to be consistent with the organising principles of the ICD-11.

The ITQ is designed for diagnosis and can discriminate PTSD from CPTSD by employing validated diagnostic rules. The scale has two major subscales with three symptom clusters in each:

  1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    1. Re-experiencing
    2. Avoidance
    3. Sense of threat
  2. Disturbances in organisation (DSO)
    1. Affective dysregulation
    2. Negative self-concept
    3. Disturbances in relationships
View ITQ

The Impact of Event Scale – Revised

The Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R) was designed as a measure of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and is a short, easily administered self-report questionnaire. It can be used for repeated measurements over time to monitor progress and is best used for recent and specific traumatic events.

The IES-R has 22 questions, 5 of which were added to the original Horowitz (IES) to better capture the DSM criteria for PTSD (Weiss & Marmar, 1997). It is an appropriate instrument to measure the subjective response to a specific traumatic event in an adult or senior population.

There is a total subjective stress scale and three subscales:

  • Intrusion 
  • Avoidance 
  • Hyperarousal
View IES-R

PTSD Checklist 5 (PCL-5)

The PCL-5 is a 20 item self-report measure of the 20 DSM-5 symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Included in the scale are four domains consistent with the four criterion of PTSD in DSM-5:

  • Re-experiencing (criterion B)
  • Avoidance (criterion C)
  • Negative alterations in cognition and mood (criterion D)
  • Hyper-arousal (criterion E)

The PCL-5 can be used to monitor symptom change, to screen for PTSD, or to make a provisional PTSD diagnosis.

View PCL-5

Dissociative Experiences Scale – II

The DES-II is a 28-item, self-report measure of dissociative experiences. Dissociation is often considered a psychological defence mechanism for victims of traumatising events, and the scale is of particular use in measuring dissociation among people with PTSD, dissociative disorders, borderline personality disorder and those with a history of abuse.

More broadly, dissociative symptoms can be considered as a transdiagnostic indicator of dysfunctional coping, with many disorders being associated with higher than average dissociation. The scale can be used during the course of treatment to track progress over time.

The DES has three sub-scales:

  1. Amnesia Factor
  2. Depersonalisation / Derealisation Factor
  3. Absorption Factor


The assessments are designed to be used by trained professionals. If your are a client looking to receive an assessment or diagnosis for trauma related concerns, we recommend contacting a trauma psychology clinic, such as Foundation Psychology.     
If you know any professionals that might be interested in these scales, please let them know! We’re constantly adding assessments to the NovoPsych test library. To view over 50 of the current psychometric tools available you can visit our website:

Dr Ben Buchanan

Clinical Psychologist & CEO of NovoPsych