Protocol - Childhood Maltreatment

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The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-Short Form (CTQ) is a 28-item, self-reported questionnaire administered to adolescents and adults to identify traumatic childhood conditions. The CTQ includes five subscales: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. The questionnaire also includes a minimalization/denial scale for detecting individuals who may be underreporting traumatic events. The respondent reviews the list of items and chooses the response that best describes his or her experiences.

Specific Instructions

The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire: A Retrospective Self-Report (CTQ) is a proprietary, sensitive clinical assessment test that requires qualification to purchase, administer, and interpret. The Test Kit is available from NCS Pearson in their web-based catalog at: http://psychcorp.pearsonassessments.com/HAIWEB/Cultures/en-us/Productdetail.htm?Pid=015-8102-339&Mode=summary


Limited Availability


Summary of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire

The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-Short Form (CTQ) is a 28-item, self-report instrument that contains five subscales:

  • - Physical abuse
  • - Sexual abuse
  • - Emotional abuse
  • - Physical neglect
  • - Emotional neglect

The scale includes 25 questions that cover items such as having emotional support, feeling loved, wearing dirty clothes, and being sexually and physically abused that tap into the five dimensions of abuse and neglect. The questionnaire also includes a three-question minimalization/denial scale for detecting individuals who may be underreporting traumatic events. All questions in the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire are preceded by "When I was growing up…"

Scoring Instructions

The respondent answers the questions on a five-point Likert scale: (1) never true, (2) rarely true, (3) sometimes true, (4) often true, and (5) very often true. The individual items are summed to give subscale scores from 5 to 25. The CTQ scoring manual provides guidelines for establishing thresholds for four levels of abuse/neglect for each subscale: None; Moderate; Severe; Extreme.

Childhood Trauma Questionnaire: A Retrospective Self-report Copyright © 1998 NCS Pearson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Personnel and Training Required

No specific training is needed if data are collected through a self-administered questionnaire.

Equipment Needs

These questions can be administered in a computerized or noncomputerized format (i.e., paper-and pencil instrument). Computer software is necessary to develop computer-assisted instruments. The interviewer will require a laptop computer or handheld computer to administer or to allow the respondent to self-administer a computer-assisted questionnaire.

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered questionnaire


Adolescent, Adult


Adolescents and adults, aged 12 years and older.

Selection Rationale

The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) was selected because it is a widely used, validated protocol with documented validity and reliability; CTQ scores have been associated with indicators of health in adjustment in prior research.


Chinese, English

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Childhood maltreatment proto 63011-1 LOINC
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #2 (ERP 2) reviewed the measures in the Demographics, Environmental Exposures, and Social Environments domains.

Guidance from ERP 2 includes:

• Revised descriptions of the measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)

Protocol Name from Source

Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), 1997


Bernstein, D., & Fink, L. (1997). Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. San Antonio, TX: Pearson Education, Inc.

The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire is a proprietary protocol and can be obtained through:

Pearson Attn: Customer Service
P.O. Box 899700
San Antonio, TX 78259-3701
Telephone: 800.627.7271
E-mail: ClinicalCustomerSupport@Pearson.com

General References

Bernstein, D. P., Ahluvalia, T., Pogge, D., & Handelsman, L. (1997). Validity of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire in an adolescent psychiatric population. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36(3), 340-348.

Bernstein, D. P., Stein, J. A., Newcomb, M. D., Walker, E., Pogge, D., Ahluvalia, T., . . . Zule, W. (2003). Development and validation of a brief screening version of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Child Abuse and Neglect, 27, 169-190.

Fink, L. A., Bernstein, D., Handelsman, L., Foote, J., & Lovejoy, M. (1995). Initial reliability and validity of the Childhood Trauma Interview: A new multidimensional measure of childhood interpersonal trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152(9), 1329-1335.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX210101000000 Protocol 210101 - proprietary. Check DCW for more
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Social Environments
Measure Name

Childhood Maltreatment

Release Date

October 8, 2010


This measure is a questionnaire to inquire about childhood abuse and neglect. The instrument includes several items that assess the minimization or denial of such experiences.


This measure is used to screen retrospectively for a history of child abuse and neglect.


Social environments, maltreatment, family, abuse, neglect, support, minimalization, denial, Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, CTQ, Pearson, proprietary

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
210101 Childhood Maltreatment

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