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Psychometric assessments used as screening tools for complex post-traumatic stress disorder: a scoping review.

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Introduction: The International Classification of Diseases version 11 (ICD-11) saw the inclusion of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a newly conceptualized addition of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) as an independent diagnosis. Recent literature supports the inclusion and distinction of CPTSD. However, with the development of new psychological constructs, contemporary psychometric instruments are required to assess such novel constructs. This study aims to synthesise and map studies that examine various psychometric instruments used as screening tools for CPTSD. Methods and Analysis: A scoping review was conducted to “scope” the breadth of the available literature within this research topic. This was achieved by providing an overview and map of available literature published on various online databases. The data underwent intensive screening processes using the PRISMA-ScR flow diagram in accordance with the chosen inclusion and exclusion criteria. Identified databases were searched, and a total of 15 studies were eligible for final review. Results and Discussion: The data yielded from the searches were charted in table format and summarised by: Author(s) and Year and Validation Study and synthesised into a comprehensive report. Gaps and trends evident in the literature base were identified and analysed thematically to provide a narrative interpretation of existing literature. Studies that investigated and assessed various screening assessments for CPTSD were categorised in relation to four overarching themes: construct validity of ICD-11 PTSD and CPTSD, evidence of existing psychometric measures used to screen for CPTSD, the measures’ psychometric properties, the prevalence of PTSD/CPTSD and severe psychopathology, and study design. Conclusion and Recommendations: Four specific themes emerged in relation to the evidence of various screening assessments for CPTSD. Future research could aim to incorporate qualitative studies that serve to understand the lived experiences of individuals diagnosed with complex trauma disorders, particularly in developing and under-resourced contexts. Further research could drive potential opportunities to develop culturally sensitive standardised measures to reduce and remediate generalisability issues.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.