The Posttaumatic Adjustment Scale (PAS) is an effective measure in predicting psychological distress in patients following major trauma

Published:November 09, 2022DOI:


      • The Posttraumatic Adjustment Scale (PAS) is effective in predicting later psychological distress in patients who have experienced major trauma.
      • A PAS-P of more than 10 predicted the development of PTSD symptoms or moderate global psychological distress with 72% sensitivity and 71% specificity.
      • The PAS-P was more sensitive in identifying patients who went on to develop psychological symptoms according to IES-R and CORE-10 scores, than clinician referral (71% versus 52%).



      To determine whether a psychological screening tool - the Posttraumatic Adjustment Scale (PAS), predicts later psychological distress for admissions to a Major Trauma Centre (MTC) and to identify whether there was an unmet need in relation to the psychological support offered.


      Patient demographics and details of their injuries were retrieved from the Trauma Audit & Research Network (TARN) database. All patients admitted to Leeds General Infirmary MTC were approached for inclusion in the study over a three-month period. The PAS was administered to all participants at baseline. Following discharge, patients were sent two validated psychological measures via post, the Impact of Events Scale – Revised (IES-R) and the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation System (CORE-10). Relationships between continuous variables were examined using a Spearman's rank test (SR). The diagnostic accuracy of the different psychological screening systems was examined and compared using Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) analysis.


      Eighty-two patients completed the PAS, 26 of whom had been referred to clinical psychology and 56 who were not. Fifty-seven of these patients (70%) returned follow-up IES-R and CORE-10 data, 20 who had been referred to psychology and 37 who had not. The PAS-P score recorded shortly after admission correlated strongly with the CORE-10 (SR rs 0.54, p<0.0001) and IES-R (SR rs 0.63, p<0.0001) scores recorded at early follow up. A PAS-P of more than 10 predicted the development of PTSD symptoms (IES-R 33 or more) or moderate global psychological distress (CORE-10 15 or more) with 72% sensitivity and 71% specificity. To identify patients who went on to develop psychological symptoms according to either measure (IES-R 33 or more or CORE-10 15 or more), the PAS-P was more sensitive than clinician referral (71% vs 52%, p<0.05) with similar specificity (72% vs 75%, p=0.78).


      In an unselected group of trauma inpatients treated in a MTC, the PAS is an effective means of identifying those who are likely to go on to suffer PTSD symptoms or psychological distress. It may useful to use the PAS as a measure to formalise psychology referrals.


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