Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5)

Assess your patient's mental health with the Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5). Download a free PDF and example to get started.

By Ericka Pingol on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is a Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5)?

Experiencing different life events has a significant impact on how we view ourselves, those around us, and our physical well-being. Depending on what kind of lens you look through these events with, the same situation could lead to either great accomplishment or profound distress.

To help clinicians identify and assess life events that may impact a patient’s mental health, the National Center for PTSD developed the (LEC-5). The LEC-5 is a tool designed to supplement clinical interviews and provide additional insight into how a person’s life events may have affected them.

The LEC-5 provides a list of key life events that have been found to impact mental health and can help clinicians identify areas of concern before further assessment. It is handy for the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as it focuses on identifying traumatic life events and the impact they may have had.

Printable Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5)

Download this Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) and assess your patient’s mental health.

How does this Life Events Checklist work?

This free Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) includes 17 key life events to screen for potentially traumatic events in the patient's life. You can follow the steps below to get started with the template:

Step One: Download the LEC-5 form

Get a copy of the Life Events Checklist worksheet using the link provided on this page. You can also download it from the Carepatron app or our resources library.

Step Two: Provide your patient with a copy

Hand a copy of the Life Events Checklist to your patient. Explain how it works and what type of information you need.

Step Three: Patient completes the LEC-5

Ask your patient to answer all questions on the checklist. Tell them to rate each life event on the form. Give them as much time as they need to review each item thoroughly.

Step Four: Review the answers

Read through the checklist and look for any life events that may have had a negative impact on the patient’s mental health.

Step Five: Follow up with a clinical assessment

Based on the information provided on the LEC-5, you can follow up with a clinical assessment to determine whether or not your patient may have PTSD or other mental health issues.

Life Events Checklist example (sample)

We have created a Life Events example to help you understand how this template works. This sample is answered by a hypothetical patient who has PTSD. It illustrates how to score each item and can provide valuable insight into how life events can affect a person’s mental health. You may view the sample here or download the PDF version for reference.

Download the free Life Events Checklist example (sample)

Life Events Checklist example (sample)

When to use these Life Events questionnaires?

You can administer the Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) to your patients at any point in the assessment process. This tool can help you better understand how life events may have affected the patient’s mental health. You can also use this evaluation if or when:

You want to gain additional insight into a patient’s experiences

The LEC-5 can provide additional insight into the patient’s experiences that may not be revealed during an initial clinical assessment. It can also help you better understand how life events may impact the patient’s mental health.

Your patient has a history of traumatic experiences

If your patient has a history of traumatic experiences, the Life Events Checklist can help you identify those events that may have affected their current condition. It can help you create a more targeted assessment and treatment plan to address those issues.

You suspect your patient may be suffering from PTSD

The LEC-5 can be a helpful screening tool for PTSD. It can help identify traumatic events that may have triggered the disorder and provide you with additional information to support a diagnosis.

You want to identify potential stressors

The LEC-5 can help you determine potential stressors in your patient’s life. It can provide information about key life events that may affect their mental health, like job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one.

Who is this Life Events Checklist PDF for?

This Life Events Checklist PDF is for mental health professionals who want to provide their patients with a comprehensive assessment. It’s also useful for: 

  • Therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • Social workers
  • Nurses
  • Other mental health-allied professionals

However, note that the LEC-5 should only be used as a screening tool and should NOT replace a full clinical assessment. Following up with further questions and clinical assessments is essential to fully understand your patient’s mental health condition.

Electronic Health Records Software Feedback

Why use this Life Events app?

Carepatron is the perfect practice management software for mental health professionals seeking to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

With Carepatron, you will have access to a comprehensive suite of tools for managing appointments, billing, client documentation, and more — all streamlined into one simple platform. You can easily set up appointment reminders, track patient progress, and even generate invoices with just a few clicks.

Our platform also includes built-in security measures to protect and secure sensitive client information. Carepatron runs on cloud-based technology and is regularly monitored for security updates and performance optimization.

With Carepatron, you'll have everything you need to take the stress out of running a mental health practice, freeing up your time to focus on providing quality care. Try it today and see how Carepatron can revolutionize how you manage your practice!

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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) – Standard. [Measurement instrument]. Available from

How to interpret the Life Events Checklist results?
How to interpret the Life Events Checklist results?

Commonly asked questions

How to interpret the Life Events Checklist results?

Interpreting the results of the Life Events Checklist can be tricky, as it's not necessarily a diagnostic tool but instead is used to gather data on potential triggers and stressors in a patient’s life.

Once you have the results, speaking with the patient is crucial to better understanding the events and their impact on their lives. As a mental health professional, it is up to you to assess the patient's mental health status and take appropriate action.

What does the Life Events Checklist do?

The Life Events Checklist assesses potential stressors and triggers in a patient’s life. It gathers information about key life events (job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, etc.) that may impact the patient’s mental health.

How is the Life Events Checklist scored?

The LEC-5 doesn't have a formal scoring protocol. Instead, it gathers data and provides helpful insight into the patient’s life experiences.

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