COSMIN database

The assessment of developmental trauma in children and adolescents: A systematic review

Denton, R., Frogley, C., Jackson, S., John, M., and Querstret, D.
BACKGROUND: The assessment of children and young people with history of complex developmental trauma presents a significant challenge to services. Traditional diagnostic categories such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are argued to be of limited value, and while the proposed 'Developmental Trauma Disorder' definition attempts to address this debate, associated assessment tools have yet to be developed. This review builds on a previous review of assessment measures, undertaken in 2005.

AIM: To identify trauma assessment tools developed or evaluated since 2004 and determine which are developmentally appropriate for children or adolescents with histories of complex trauma.

METHOD: A systematic search of electronic databases was conducted with explicit inclusion and exclusion criteria.

RESULTS: A total of 35 papers were identified evaluating 29 measures assessing general functioning and mental health ( N = 10), PTSD ( N = 7) and trauma symptomatology outside, or in addition to, PTSD ( N = 11). Studies were evaluated on sample quality, trauma/adversity type, as well as demographic and psychometric data. Distinction was made between measures validated for children (0-12 years) and adolescents (12-18 years).

CONCLUSION: Few instruments could be recommended for immediate use as many required further validation. The Assessment Checklist questionnaires, designed with a developmental and attachment focus, were the most promising tools.
Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Cognitive/mental state
Emotional state
Physical state
Functional status:
Cognitive/mental functioning
Physical functioning
Role functioning
Social functioning
Children (0-18)
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes
Mental and behavioural disorders and related symptoms
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
2 - Interviews
6 - Clinical rating scales
AAI - Adult Attachment Interview
ACA - Assessment Checklist for Adolescents
ACC - Assessment Checklist for Children
ACSBI - Adolescent Clinical Sexual Behaviour Inventory
BAC-C - Brief Assessment Checklist for Children
BYI-S - Beck Self-Concept Inventory for Youth
CBCL - Child Behavior Checklist (versions: CBCL-ADHD)    | 
CBCL-PTSD-15 - Child Behaviour Checklist-PTSD-15
CBCL-PTSD-20 - Child Behaviour Checklist-PTSD-20
CBCL-PTSD - Child Behaviour Checklist-PTSD (Three subscales from CBCL items)
CDC - Child Dissociative Checklist
CGAF - Children’s Global Assessment of Functioning Scale
Child PTSD Symptom Scale
CSBI - Child Sexual Behaviour Inventory
CYRM - Child and Youth Resilience Measure (versions: CYRM-28; CYRM-12)
DES - Dissociative Experiences Scale (versions: ADES - Adolescent DES)
Dominic Interactive Assessment
GAFS - Global Assessment of Functioning Scale
MMPI - Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (versions: MMPI-2; MMPI-Adolescent)
Paediatric Emotional Distress Scale (versions: Child version)
SFRS - Solution Focused Recovery Scale
Story Stem Assessment Profile
TAYC - Trauma Assessment for Young Children
Trauma Play Scale
TSCC - Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (versions: TSCYC - Young Children; TSCYC-SF)
UCLA-PTSD-RI - University of California, Los Angeles, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder–Reaction Index
VABS - Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (versions: VABS-I; VABS-II)