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Life Events Checklist for DSM-5

Life Events Checklist for DSM-5

What is LEC-5

The Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) is a self-report measure designed to screen for potentially traumatic events in a respondent's lifetime. The LEC-5 assesses exposure to 16 events known to potentially result in PTSD or distress and includes one additional item assessing any other extraordinarily stressful event not captured in the first 16 items.

LEC-5 Printable PDF

You can create a free account on PsyPack to access fillable PDFs, manuals and educational resources for the LEC-5

LEC-5 Scoring and Interpretation

The LEC-5 is intended to gather information about the potentially traumatic experiences a person has experienced. There is no formal scoring protocol or interpretation per se, other than identifying whether a person has experienced one or more of the events listed. Respondents indicate varying levels of exposure to each type of potentially traumatic event included on a 6-point nominal scale, and respondents may endorse multiple levels of exposure to the same trauma type. The LEC-5 does not yield a total score or composite score.

PsyPack can automatically score the LEC-5 assessment and prepare corresponding tables and graphs.

LEC-5 sample result

Sample Report of LEC-5


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What does LEC-5 measure

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • screen for potentially traumatic events in a respondent's lifetime.



Type of outcome tool


Assessment modes


Age and eligibility


Estimated time

About 5 minutes


Since the questionnaire relies on client self-report, all responses should be verified by the clinician, and a definitive diagnosis is made on clinical grounds taking into account how well the client understood the questionnaire, as well as other relevant information from the client.

The LEC was originally developed concurrently with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS) to be administered before the CAPS. The LEC demonstrated adequate psychometric properties as a stand-alone assessment of traumatic exposure, particularly when evaluating consistency of events that actually happened to a respondent.

The original LEC also demonstrated convergent validity with measures assessing varying levels of exposure to potentially traumatic events and psychopathology known to relate to traumatic exposure. However, the LEC did not establish that the respondent has experienced an event with sufficient severity to meet DSM-IV criteria for a traumatic exposure.

Changes between the original LEC and LEC-5 are minimal:

  • Item 15 "Sudden, unexpected death of someone close to you" was changed to "Sudden accidental death"
  • Response category "Part of my job" was added

Psychometrics are not currently available for the LEC-5. Given the minimal revisions from the original version of the LEC, few psychometric differences are expected.

The LEC-5 is often used in combination with other measures (e.g., CAPS-5, PCL-5) for the purpose of establishing exposure to a PTSD Criterion A traumatic event.

Attribution and References

Weathers, F.W., Blake, D.D., Schnurr, P.P., Kaloupek, D.G., Marx, B.P., & Keane, T.M. (2013). The Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5). Instrument available from the National Center for PTSD at