OBJECTIVE: There is a lack of a psychometrically sound screening questionnaire that assesses important dimensions of traumatic experiences during childhood and adolescence in a time-efficient way. Based on the German version of the "Childhood Trauma Questionnaire" (CTQ, 28 items) we developed a five-item self-report childhood trauma screener (CTS) that covers sexual, emotional and physical abuse and emotional and physical neglect. METHOD: The data set of the SHIP-LEGEND study (n = 1668) was used to extract five items of the CTQ that optimally covered the five dimensions and showed a high correlation with the total score. In two validation samples (clinical sample [n = 211] and subjects from the BiDirect study [n = 288]) the psychometric properties of the CTS were evaluated. RESULTS: The correlations between the five CTS Items and the corresponding dimensions from the CTQ were r = 0.55 to 0.87 (p < 0.0001) within the clinical sample. Furthermore, we found high correlations (r = 0.88; p < 0.0001) with the total CTQ score. The internal consistency was 0.757 (Cronbachs α). CONCLUSION: The CTS is a reliable, valid and economic screener for the retrospective assessment of adverse childhood experiences especially in large epidemiological studies.
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