Validation of the Short Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Rating Interview (expanded version, Sprint-E) as a measure of postdisaster distress and treatment need


  • Fran H. Norris, PhD
  • Jessica L. Hamblen, PhD
  • Lisa M. Brown, PhD
  • John A. Schinka, PhD



disaster, PTSD, treatment, assessment, referral


Objective: Professionals and paraprofessionals working in disaster settings need tools to identify persons with mental health needs.To validate the Sprint-E as a measure of postdisaster distress and treatment need, the authors tested (1) the concurrent validity of the measure compared with other measures of distress, (2) the sensitivity and specificity of a “3/7 rule” on the Sprint-E relative to probable PTSD diagnosis, and (3) the hypothesis that Sprint-E scores would be stable in the absence of treatment but would improve in its presence.
Method: In Study 1, data were collected at the point of enrollment from 165 adults participating in a Florida treatment program implemented in response to the 2004 hurricanes. In Study 2, data were collected at points of referral, pretreatment, and intermediate treatment from 128 adults participating in a Baton Rouge Louisiana treatment program implemented in response to the 2005 hurricanes, Katrina and Rita.
Results: The utility of a 3/7 rule for the Sprint-E, with 3 suggesting possible and 7 suggesting probable treatment needs, was supported in Study 1. Tested against the PTSD Checklist, the Sprint-E performed well in ROC analyses (area under the curve _ 0.87); a score of 7 achieved sensitivity of 78 percent and specificity of 79 percent. In Study 2, Sprint-E scores evidenced little change between referral and pretreatment but substantial change between pretreatment and intermediate treatment.
Conclusion: The Sprint-E is useful as an assessment and referral tool in situations where more in-depth assessment is not feasible and mental health services are available.

Author Biographies

Fran H. Norris, PhD

Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School, National Center for Disaster Mental Health Research, Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, White River Junction, Vermont.

Jessica L. Hamblen, PhD

Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School, National Center for Disaster Mental Health Research, White River Junction, Vermont.

Lisa M. Brown, PhD

Department of Aging and Mental Health, Florida Mental Health Institute, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

John A. Schinka, PhD

James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


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How to Cite

Norris, PhD, F. H., J. L. Hamblen, PhD, L. M. Brown, PhD, and J. A. Schinka, PhD. “Validation of the Short Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Rating Interview (expanded Version, Sprint-E) As a Measure of Postdisaster Distress and Treatment Need”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 3, no. 4, July 2008, pp. 201-12, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2008.0027.