Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI)

Download Clinical Summary PDF

Tool Description

  • The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) is the shortened version of the Symptoms Checklist-90
  • The BSI is a 53-item questionnaire covering nine symptom dimensions of depression:

1) Somatization
2) Obsession-compulsion
3) Interpersonal sensitivity
4) Depression
5) Anxiety
6) Hostility
7) Phobic anxiety
8) Paranoid ideation
9) Psychoticism

  • 3 global indices of distress are also used: Global Severity Index, Positive Symptom Distress Index, and Positive Symptom Total. These measure number and intensity of reported symptoms, as well as current or past level of symptomatology.

ICF Domain:

Body Function – Subcategory: Mental Functions

Number of Items:

53

Brief Instructions for Administration & Scoring

Administration:

  • Self-report format
  • Respondents rank each item on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 4 (extremely).
  • Rankings represent the intensity of distress over the past week.
  • The scale reportedly takes less than 8-12 minutes to complete.

Equipment: None.

Scoring: Scoring is done by hand calculation. 5 point (0-5) Likert-type scale measuring the extent to which individuals have been disturbed by certain mental health symptoms.

Interpretability

MCID: not established for SCI
SEM: not established for SCI
MDC: not established for SCI

  • Scores are interpreted by comparison to age-appropriate norms but no normative data or cutoff scores have been established for the SCI population.
  • Published data for the SCI population is available for comparison (see the Interpretability section of the Study Details sheet).
  • Higher normative scores are recommended for SCI populations due to the somatic items.

Languages:

The instrument requires only a reading knowledge equivalent to that of a sixth grade education and is available in English, Spanish & French.

Training Required:

Minimal training is required to administer the BSI. A specialized degree in health care with an appropriate license or certificate is required to purchase copyrighted forms and manual from the publisher.

Availability:

The actual scale and manual can be purchased here: http://psychcorp.pearsonassessments.com/HAIWEB/Cultures/en-us/Productdetail.htm?Pid=PAbsi

Clinical Considerations

  •  The BSI is a well-known and well-accepted instrument.
  • The BSI is best used to screen for global psychological distress.
  • The inclusion of somatic items may cause an overestimation of psychiatric symptoms in individuals with SCI.
  • Normative data are available for a variety of non-SCI populations. The Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale was found to have higher sensitivity compared to the BSI when identifying individuals with depression.
  • The BSI was not written for the SCI population, therefore, some items may not be appropriate.
  • This test is simple and easy to administer.

Measurement Property Summary

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 3

Reliability:

  • Internal consistency is High (Cronbach’s α=0.96).

[Tate et al. 1993]

Validity:

  • Correlation of the BSI is excellent with the:
    •  ATD-PA QOL (Spearman’s ρ = -0.71)
    • SWLS (Spearman’s ρ = -0.64).
  • Correlation of the BSI- Depression subscale is High with the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale – Depression subscale (Pearson’s r = 0.71)
  • Correlation of the BSI Anxiety scale is High with the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale – Anxiety subscale (Pearson’s r = 0.61).

[Tate et al. 1993, Scherer & Cushman 2001, Mitchell et al. 2008]

Responsiveness:

No values were reported for the responsiveness of the BSI for the SCI population.

Floor/ceiling effect:

No values were reported for the presence of floor/ceiling effects in the BSI for the SCI population.

Reviewer

Dr. Janice Eng, Christie Chan

Date Last Updated:

Feb 1, 2013

Download the measure

Download Worksheet:
The actual scale and manual can be purchased here: http://psychcorp.pearsonassessments.com/HAIWEB/Cultures/en-us/Productdetail.htm?Pid=PAbsi

Video

n/a

Scoring

Respondents rank each item on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 4 (extremely), representing the intensity of distress over the past week.

Equipment Needed

BSI:

Derogatis LR, Melisaratos N. The Brief Symptom Inventory: an introductory report. Psychol Med 1983; 13(3): 595-605.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6622612

Heinrich RK, Tate DG, Buckelew SP. Brief Symptom Inventory norms for spinal cord injury. Rehabil Psychol 1994; 39(1): 49-56.
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/rep/39/1/49/

Heinrich RK, Tate DG. Latent variable structure of the Brief Symptom Inventory in a sample of persons with spinal cord injuries. Rehab Psychol 1996; 41:131-147.
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/rep/41/2/131/

Mitchell MC, Burns NR, Dorstyn DS. Screening for depression and anxiety in spinal cord injury with DASS-21. Spinal Cord, 2008; 46, 547-551.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18071354

Morlan KK, Tan SY. Comparison of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and the Brief Symptom Inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology 1998; 54(7): 885-894.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9811126

Scherer MJ and Cushman LA. Measuring subjective quality of life for spinal cord injury: a validation study of the assistive technology devise predisposition assessment. Disability and Rehabilitation, 2001; 23(9): 387-393.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11394589

Schurle Bruce A, Arnett PA. Longitudinal study of the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised in Multiple Sclerosis patients. The Clinical Neuropsychologist 2006; 22:46-59.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18338441

Tate DG, Forcheimer M, Maynard F, Davidoff G, Dijkers M. Comparing Two Measures of Depression in Spinal Cord Injury. Rehabil Psychol 1993;38:53-61.
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/rep/38/1/53/