Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC)


COPYRIGHT: Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR)

The TSCC evaluates posttraumatic symptomatology in children and adolescents (ages 8 to 16, with normative adjustments for 17 year-olds), including the effects of child abuse (sexual, physical, and psychological) and neglect, other interpersonal violence, witnessing trauma to others, major accidents, and disasters. The scale measures not only posttraumatic stress, but also other symptom clusters found in some traumatized children.


The TSCC is a 54-item self-report instrument consisting of two validity scales:

  • Underresponse [UND] and
  • Hyperresponse (HYP])

and six clinical scales:

  • Anxiety (ANX),
  • Depression (DEP),
  • Posttraumatic Stress (PTS),
  • Sexual Concerns (SC),
  • Dissociation (DIS), and
  • Anger (ANG).

Two of these scales have subscales (Sexual Concerns contains Sexual Preoccupation [SC-P] and Sexual Distress [SC-D]; Dissociation contains Fantasy [D-F] and Overt Dissociation [D-OD]). The items of the TSCC are explicitly written at a level thought to be understood by children eight years of age or older. The items of the TSCC and a place for answers are contained in a test booklet. Each symptom item is rated according to its frequency of occurrence using a four point scale ranging from 0 ("never") to 3 ("almost all of the time"). The TSCC requires approximately 10-20 minutes to complete for all but the most traumatized or clinically impaired children, and can be scored and profiled in approximately 10 minutes. There is a 44-item Alternate version of the TSCC (the TSCC-A) that does not contain Sexual Concerns items, for use in circumstances where sexual item content must be avoided.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Item booklet, profile forms, and the professional manual. A computer scoring program is also available, but is optional.

PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES: Various studies using the TSCC (and TSCC-A) indicate that it is reliable (alphas in the mid to high 80s for all scales but Sexual Concerns, which tends to be in the high 60s and low 70s) and has convergent and predictive validity in samples of traumatized and nontraumatized children and adolescents. However, selected TSCC scales were not predictive of childhood leukemia status in one study (Kazak, et al, 1997). In addition to tapping posttraumatic difficulties, the TSCC appears to be sensitive to the effects of therapy for abused children (e.g., Cohen & Mannarino, 1992; Lanktree & Briere, 1995) and the effects of child protection systems intervention (e.g., Henry, 1997). The validity scales appear to be useful, especially in identifying underreporting in traumatized children (e.g., Davies & Flannery, 1998). Normative data on the TSCC/TSCC-A was derived from large samples (total N>3,000) of nonclinical children across the United States (Evans, et al, 1994; Friedrich, 1995; Singer, et al., 1995). Per the test manual (Briere, 1996), separate norms and T-scores are available according to sex and age (8-12 and 13-16). 17 year olds can be evaluated on the TSCC using 16-year old norms, with only minor adjustments. Data on race differences are included, although race was not a major predictor of TSCC scores. The TSCC has been translated into several languages in order to study the effects of trauma in other cultures. For example, research on the French Canadian translation suggests that it has validity for Franco-Quebec children (Wright, Friedrich, Cyr, Theriault, Perron, Lussier, & Sabourin, 1998).

The TSCC was published by PAR in early 1996.

Publications describing or using the TSCC

[Note: With a few exceptions, this list refers to published articles, as opposed to chapters or books. Not all relevant sources may have been cited.]

Atlas, J.A, & Ingram, D.M. (1998). Betrayal trauma in adolescent inpatients. Psychological Reports, 83, 914.

Bal, S., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Crombez, G., & Van Oost, P. (2004).  Differences in trauma symptoms and family functioning in intra- and extrafamilial sexually abused adolescents.   Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 108-123.

Bal, S., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Crombez, G., & Van Oost, P. (2005).  Predictors of trauma symptomatology in sexually abused adolescents: a 6-month follow-up study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, pp. 1390-1405.

Bal, S., Van Oost, P., & Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, G.C. (2003).  Avoidant coping as a mediator between self-reported sexual abuse and stress-related symptoms in adolescents.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 883-897.

Barakat, L.P., Kazak, A. E., Meadows, A.T., Casey, R., Meeske, K., & Stuber, M.L. (1997). Families surviving childhood cancer: a comparison of posttraumatic stress symptoms with families of healthy children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 22, 843-859.

Berliner, L., Hyman, I. E., Thomas, A., & Fitzgerald, M. (2003).  Children's memory for trauma and positive experiences.  Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16, 229-236. 

Blinder, B.J., Cumella, E.J., & Sanathara, V.A. (2006).  Psychiatric comorbidities of female inpatients with eating disorders. Psychosomatic Medicine, 68, 454-462.

Bolen, Rebecca M; Lamb, J Leah (2007). Parental support and outcome in sexually abused children. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 16, 33-54.

Brady, K.L., & Caraway S.J. (2002).  Home away from home: factors associated with current functioning in children living in a residential treatment setting.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 26, 1149-1163.

Briere, J. (1996). Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Carter, L.,  Kay, S.J., George, J.L, & King, P. (2003).  Treating children exposed to domestic violence.  Journal of Emotional Abuse, 3, 183-202.

Cohen, J.A. & Mannarino, A.P. (2000).  Predictors of treatment outcome in sexually abused children.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 983-994.

Cohen, J. A., Mannarino, A. P., & Knudsen, K. (2005). Treating sexually abused children: 1 year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29, 135-145.

Crouch, J.L., Smith, D.W., Ezzell, C.E., & Saunders, B.E. (1999). Measuring reactions to sexual trauma among children: Comparing the Children's Impact of Events Scale and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children. Child Maltreatment, 4, 255-263.

Cuevas, C.A., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H.A., & Ormrod, R.K. (2007). Juvenile delinquency and victimization: a theoretical typology. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 1581-1602.

Cyr, M., McDuff, P., Wright, J., Thériault, C., & Cinq-Mars, C. (2005). Clinical correlates and repetition of self-harming behaviors among female adolescent victims of sexual abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 14, 49-68.

Daigneault, I., Cyr, M., & Tourigny, M. (2007). Exploration of recovery trajectories in sexually abused adolescents. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 14, 165-184.

Daigneault, I., Tourigny, M., & Cyr, M. (2004). Description of trauma and resilience in sexually abused adolescents: an integrated assessment. Journal of Trauma Practice, 3, 23-47.

Daigneault, I., Tourigny, M., & Hébert, M. (2006).  Self-attributions of blame in sexually abused adolescents: a mediational model. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19, 153-157.

Davies, W.H., & Flannery, D.J. (1998). Post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents exposed to violence. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 45, 341-353.

Dubowitz, H., Newton, R.R., Litrownik, A.J., Lewis, T., Briggs, E.C., Thompson, R., English, D.J., Lee, L-C., & Feerick, M.M. (2005). Examination of a conceptual model of child neglect. Child Maltreatment, 10, 173-189.

Dyl, J., Kittler, J., Phillips, K.A., & Hunt, J.I. (2006). Body dysmorphic disorder and other clinically significant body image concerns in adolescent psychiatric inpatients: Prevalence and clinical characteristics. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 36, 369-382.

Ehai, J.D., Gray, M.J., Kashdan, T.B., Franklin, C.L. (2005).  Which instruments are most commonly used to assess traumatic event exposure and posttraumatic effects?: a survey of traumatic stress professionals. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 541-545.

Elliott, D.M., & Briere, J. (1994). Forensic sexual abuse evaluations of older children: Disclosures and symptomatology. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 12, 261- 277.

El-Sheikh, M., Cummings, E.M., Kouros, C.D.,Elmore-Staton, L., & Buckhalt, J. (2008). Marital psychological and physical aggression and children's mental and physical health: direct, mediated, and moderated effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 138-148.

English, D.J., Graham, J.C., Litrownik, A.J.,Everson, M.D., & Bangdiwala, S.I. (2005).  Defining maltreatment chronicity: are there differences in child outcomes? Child Abuse and Neglect, 29, 575-595.

Everson, M.D., Smith, J.B., Hussey, J.M., English, D.J., Litrownik, A.J., Dubowitz, H., Thompson, R., Knight, E.D., & Runyan, D.K. (2008). Concordance between adolescent reports of childhood abuse and child protective service determinations in an at-risk sample of young adolescents  Child Maltreatment, 13, 14-26.

Ezzell, C. E, Swenson, C.C., & Brondino, M.J. (2000).  The relationship of social support to physically abused children's adjustment. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, 641-651.

Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R.K., & Turner, H. (2007).  Poly-victimization: A neglected component in child victimization.  Child Abuse and Neglect, 31, 7-26.

Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R.K., & Turner, H. (2007). Polyvictimization and trauma in a national longitudinal cohort.  Development and Psychopathology, 19, 149-166.

Flannery, D.J., Singer, M.I., & Wester, K. (2001). Violence exposure, psychological trauma, and suicide risk in a community sample of dangerously violent adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 435-442.

Flowers, A.L., Hastings, T.L., Kelley, M.L. 2000).  Development of a screening instrument for exposure to violence in children: the KID-SAVE.   Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 22, 91-104.

Fricker, A.E., & Smith, D.W. (2001).  Trauma specific versus generic measurement of distress and the validity of self-reported symptoms in sexually abused children.  Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 10, 51-66.

Friedrich, W.N. (1994). Assessing children for the effects of sexual victimization. In J. Briere, (Ed.), Assessing and Treating Victims of Violence. New Directions for Mental Health Services series (MHS #64). San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.

Friedrich, W.N., Gerber, P.N., Koplin, B., Davis, M., Giese, J., Mykelbust, C., & Franckowiak, D. (2001).  Multimodal assessment of dissociation in adolescents: inpatients and juvenile sex offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 13, 167-177.

Friedrich, W.N., Jaworski, T.M., Huxsahl, J.E., & Bengtson, B.S. (1997). Dissociative and sexual behaviors in children and adolescents with sexual abuse and psychiatric histories. Journal of  Interpersonal Violence, 12, 155-171.

Friedrich, W.N., & Share, M.C. (1997). The Roberts Apperception Test for Children: an exploratory study of its use with sexually abused children. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 6, 83-91.

Gries, L.T., Goh, D.S., Andrews, M.B., Gilbert, J., Praver, F., & Stelzer, D.N. (2000). Positive reaction to disclosure and recovery from child sexual abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 9, 29-51.

Greenwald, R. (2002).  Motivation-adaptive skills-trauma resolution (MASTR) therapy for adolescents with conduct problems: an open trial. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 6, 237-261.

Gully, K.J. (2003). Expectations Test: trauma scales for sexual abuse, physical abuse, exposure to family violence, and posttraumatic stress. Child Maltreatment, 8, 218-229.

Hawkins, S.S., & Radcliffe, J. (2006).  Current measures of PTSD for children and adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31, 420-430.

Hastings, T.L., & Kelley, M.L. (1997). Development and validation of the Screen for Adolescent Violence Exposure (SAVE). Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 25, 511-520.

Henry, J. (1997). System intervention trauma to child sexual abuse victims following disclosure. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12, 499-512.

Hestyani, Y.R. (2006) Children survivors of the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia. A study of resiliency. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1094, 303–307.

Hilker, K.A., Murphy, M.A., & Kelley, M.L. (2005). Violence exposure, somatic complaints, and health care utilization in a pediatric sample. Children's Health Care, 34, 35-46.

Johnson, R.M, Kotch, J.B., Catellier, D.J., Winsor, J.R., Dufort, V., Hunter, W.M., & Amaya-Jackson, L. (2002). Adverse behavioral and emotional outcomes from child abuse and witnessed violence. Child Maltreatment, 7, 179-186.

Nelson-Gardell, D. (1997). Child Report of Treatment Issue Resolution: pilot of a rapid assessment instrument. Child Abuse and Neglect, 21, 309-318.

Kaplow, J.B., Dodge, K.A., Amaya-Jackson, L., & Saxe, G.N. (2005).  Pathways to PTSD, part II: sexually abused children. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 1305-1310.

Kazak, A.E., Barakat, L.P., Meeske, K., Christakis, D., Meadows, A.T., Casey, R., Penati, B., & Stuber, M. (1997). Posttraumatic stress, family functioning, and social support in survivors of childhood leukemia and their mothers and fathers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 120-129.

Kolko, D.J., Baumann, B.L., & Caldwell, N. (2003).  Child abuse victims' involvement in community agency treatment: service correlates, short-term outcomes, and relationship to reabuse. Child Maltreatment, 8, 273-287.

Kolko, D.J., Brown, E.J., & Berliner, L. (2002).  Children's perceptions of their abusive experience: measurement and preliminary findings. Child Maltreatment, 7, 42-55.

Koverola, C., Papas, M.A., Pitts, S.C., Murtaugh, C., Black, M.M., & Dubowitz, H. (2005). Longitudinal investigation of the relationship among maternal victimization, depressive symptoms, social support, and children's behavior and development. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 1523-1546.

Lanktree, C.B., & Briere, J. (1995). Outcome of therapy for sexually abused children: A repeated measures study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 19, 1145-1155.

Lanktree, C.B., Gilbert, A.M., Briere, J., Taylor, N., Chen, K., Maida, C.A., & Saltzman, W.R. (in press). Multi-informant assessment of maltreated children:  Convergent and discriminant validity of the TSCC and TSCYC. Child Abuse & Neglect.

Leon, S.C., Ragsdale, B., Miller, S.A., & Spaccarelli, S. (2008). Trauma resilience among youth in substitute care demonstrating sexual behavior problems. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32, 67-81.

McCart, M.R., Davies, W.H., Harris, R., Wincek, J., Calhoun, A.D., & Melzer-Lange, M.D. (2005).  Assessment of trauma symptoms among adolescent assault victims. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36, 70.e7-70.e13.

McCrae, J.S., Chapman, M.V., Christ, S.L. (2006). Profile of children investigated for sexual abuse: association with psychopathology symptoms and services  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76, 468-481.

Mertin, P., & Mohr, P.B. (2002).  Incidence and correlates of posttrauma symptoms in children from backgrounds of domestic violence. Violence and Victims, 17, 555-567.

Nader, K. O. (2004). Assessing traumatic experiences in children and adolescents: Self-reports of DSM PTSD Criteria B-D symptoms. In J. Wilson & T. Keane (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD, 2nd ed. (pp. 513-537). New York: Guilford Press.

Najavits, L.M., Gallop, R.J., & Weiss, R.D. (2006). Seeking Safety therapy for adolescent girls with PTSD and substance use disorder: a randomized controlled trial  Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 33, 453-463.

Ohan, J. L., Myers, K., Collett, B. R. (2002). Ten-year review of rating scales. IV: Scales assessing trauma and its effects. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41, 1401-22.

Ozer, E.J. (2005). The impact of violence on urban adolescents: longitudinal effects of perceived school connection and family support. Journal of Adolescent Research, 20, 167-192.

Ozer, E.J., & McDonald, K.L. (2006). Exposure to violence and mental health among Chinese American urban adolescents  Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 73-79

Reyes, C. J., Kokotovic, A.M., & Cosden, M.A. (1996). Sexually abused children's perceptions: how they may change treatment focus. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27, 588-591.

Sadowski, C.M., & Friedrich, W.N. (2000). Psychometric properties of the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) with psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents. Child Maltreatment, 5, 364-372.

Saltzman, K.M., Holden, G.W., & Holahan, C.J. (2005).  The psychobiology of children exposed to marital violence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 129-139.

Schneider, M.W., Ross, A., Graham, J.C., & Zielinski, A. (2005).  Do allegations of emotional maltreatment predict developmental outcomes beyond that of other forms of maltreatment? Child Abuse and Neglect, 29, 513-532.

Sebre, S., Sprugevica, I., Novotni, A., Bonevski, D., Pakalniskiene, Popescu, D., Turchina, T., Friedrich, W., & Lewis, O. (2004).  Cross-cultural comparisons of child-reported emotional and physical abuse: rates, risk factors and psychological symptoms.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 28, 113-127.

Shaw, J.A., Lewis, J.E., Loeb, A., Rosado, J., & Rodriguez, R.A. (2000).  Child on child sexual abuse: Psychological perspectives.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 1591-1600.

Shaw, J.A., Lewis, J.E., Loeb, A., Rosado, J., & Rodriguez, R.A. (2001).  A comparison of Hispanic and African-American sexually abused girls and their families.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 25, 1363-1379.

Sim, L., Friedrich, W.N., Davies, W.H., Trentham, B., Lengua, L.J., & Pithers, W.D. (2005).  The Child Behavior Checklist as an indicator of posttraumatic stress disorder and dissociation in normative, psychiatric, and sexually abused children. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 687-705.

Singer, M.I., Anglin, T.M., Song, L.Y., & Lunghofer, L. (1995). Adolescents' exposure to violence and associated symptoms of psychological trauma. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 273, 477-482.

Singer, M. I., Slovak, K., Frierson, T., & York, P. (1998). Viewing preferences, symptoms of psychological trauma, and violent behaviors among children who watch television. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37, 1041-8.

Slovak, K., & Singer, M. I. (2001).  Gun violence exposure and trauma among rural youth. Violence and Victims, 16, 389-400.Slovak, Karen. (2002).  Gun violence and children: factors related to exposure and trauma.  Health and Social Work, 27, 104-112. 

Song, L.Y., Singer, M.I., Anglin, T.M. (1998). Violence exposure and emotional trauma as contributors to adolescents' violent behaviors. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 152, 531-536.

Spaccarelli, S. (1995). Measuring abuse stress and negative cognitive appraisals in child sexual abuse: validity data on two new scales. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 6, 703-727.

Sarmiento, T.L., & Pasquale, L.E. (2005). Assessment and screening tools for trauma in children and adolescents: A review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 6, 55-78.

Taussig, H.N., & Talmi, A. (2001).  Ethnic differences in risk behaviors and related psychosocial variables among a cohort of maltreated adolescents in foster care.  Child Maltreatment, 6, 180-192.

Thériault, C., Cyr, M., & Wright, J. (2003).  Facteurs contextuels associés aux symptômes d' adolescentes victimes d' agression sexuelle intrafamiliale.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 1291-1309.

Thompson, R., Briggs, E.C., English, D.J., Dubowitz, H., Lee, L-C, Brody, K., Everson, M.D., & Hunter, W.M (2005).  Suicidal ideation among 8-year-olds who are maltreated and at risk: findings from the LONGSCAN studies.  Child Maltreatment, 10, 26-36.

Thompson, S.J. (2005). Factors associated with trauma symptoms among runaway/homeless adolescents. Stress, Trauma, and Crisis, 8, 143-156.

Thompson, S.J., Maccio, E.M., Desselle, S.K., & Zittel-Palamara, K. (2007). Predictors of posttraumatic stress symptoms among runaway youth utilizing two service sectors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 553-563.

Wekerle, C., Wolfe, D.A., Hawkins, D.L., Pittman, A., Glickman, A., & Lovald, B.E. (2001).  Childhood maltreatment, posttraumatic stress symptomatology, and adolescent dating violence: considering the value of adolescent perceptions of abuse and a trauma mediational model.  Development and Psychopathology, 13, 847-871. 

Wolfe, D.A., Scott, K., Wekerle, C., & Pittman, A.L. (2001). Child maltreatment: risk of adjustment problems and dating violence in adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 282-289.

Wolfe, D.A., Wekerle, C., Scott, K.L., Straatman, A-L., & Grasley, C. (2004).  Predicting abuse in adolescent dating relationships over 1 year: the role of child maltreatment and trauma.  
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113,  406-415.

Wolpaw, J.M., Ford, J.D., Newman, E., Davis, J.L., & Briere, J. (2005). Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children.  In T. Grisso, G. Vincent, & D. Seagrave (eds.), Handbook of Mental Health Screening and Assessment for Juvenile Justice. (pp. 152-165.  New York: Guilford.

Wright, J., Friedrich, W.N., Cyr, M., Thériault, C., Perron, A., Lussier, Y., & Sabourin, S. (1998). The evaluation of Franco-Quebec victims of child sexual abuse and their mothers: The implementation of a standard assessment protocol. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 9-23.