Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI)
The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) is the shortened version of the Symptoms Checklist-90 inquiring about depressive symptoms in nine dimensions: somatization; obsession-compulsion; interpersonal sensitivity; depression; anxiety; hostility; phobic anxiety; paranoid ideation; and psychoticism (Derogatis 1983).
Number of items: 53
Procedure/Administration: Self- or interviewer- administered. 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 (Derogatis 1975).
How scored: Scoring is done by hand calculation.
Interpretability: Scores are interpreted by comparison to age-appropriate norms. Normative data are available for both clinical and non-clinical samples (Derogatis 1975). Higher normative scores are recommended for SCI populations because of the somatic items (Heinrich & Tate 1994).
Languages: The instrument requires only a reading knowledge equivalent to that of a sixth grade education and is available in English, Spanish & French.
Time to administer: Less than 8-12 minutes to complete.
Time to score: Time is unknown, but likely minimal.
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: Copyrighted forms and the BSI manual (Derogatis, 1993) are available from the publisher.
Equipment required: N/a
- 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 (Tate et al. 1993).
IC: Green light
Construct/SS: Yellow light Criterion: Green light
Note: TR= Test re-test; IC= Internal Consistency;Inter-O= Inter-observer; Intra-O= Intra-observer; SS= Sensitivity/Specificity; N/a= No information.
Red light= A single study involving SCI subjects which has less than adequate findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.
Yellow light= A single study involving subjects with SCI which has adequate to excellent findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.
Green light= At least 2 studies involving subjects with SCI which have adequate to excellent findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.
- Derogatis LR, Melisaratos N. The Brief Symptom Inventory: in introductory report. Psychol Med 1983; 13(3): 595-605.
- Derogatis FR. The Brief Symptom Inventory. Clinical Psychometric Research 1975: Baltimore.
- Heinrich RK, Tate DG, Buckelew SP. Brief Symptom Inventory norms for spinal cord injury. Rehabil Psychol 1994; 39(1): 49-56.
- 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.
- 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.
- Schurle Bruce A, Arnett PA. Longitudinal study of the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised in Multiple Sclerosis patients. The Clinical Neuropsychologist 2006; 22:46-59.
- 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.