Validity of a single PTSD checklist item to screen for insomnia in survivors of critical illness

Elizabeth C. Parsons, Catherine L. Hough, Michael V. Vitiello, Brian Palen, Douglas Zatzick, Dimitry S. Davydow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: There is no insomnia screening tool validated in intensive care unit (ICU) survivors. Objectives: To examine the validity of a single item from the PTSD checklist-Civilian version (PCL-C) to detect insomnia by Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) Methods: We performed a secondary analysis of data from a longitudinal investigation in 120 medical-surgical ICU survivors. At 1 year post-ICU, patients completed ISI, PCL-C, and Medical Short-Form 12 (SF-12) by telephone. A single PCL-C item rates difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep over the past month. We compared performance characteristics of this PCL-C item to ISI-defined insomnia (ISI ≥15). Results: A score of ≥3 on the PCL-C sleep item exhibited 91% sensitivity and 67% specificity for ISI-defined insomnia (ISI ≥ 15), and it demonstrated construct validity by correlation to related QOL indices. Conclusions: A single PCL-C sleep item score ≥ 3 is a reasonable screen to identify insomnia symptoms in ICU survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalHeart and Lung
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical illness
  • Insomnia
  • Intensive care unit
  • Sleep disorders
  • maintenance disorders
  • sleep initiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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