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Reliability and Validity of the Brief Symptom Inventory

Psychological Assessment , Volume 3 (3): 433 – Sep 1, 1991


American Psychological Association
Copyright © 1991 by American Psychological Association
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Reliability and Validity of the Brief Symptom Inventory


The reliability and validity of the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) was examined for a group of 501 forensic psychiatric inpatients and outpatients. Alpha coefficients for the 9 primary symptom dimensions revealed a high degree of consistency among the items that compose each scale. Scores on the 9 BSI dimensions were found to correlate with both analogous and nonanalogous measures of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), indicating a limited convergent validity and a poor discriminant validity for the instrument. Reactivity to response bias was demonstrated by prominent correlations between the BSI dimensions and the MMPI validity scales. The significant intercorrelations among the BSI symptom subscales indicated the inappropriateness of BSI profile analysis in this sample. The BSI may hold some promise as a general indicator of psychopathology but further research is needed to justify its use as a clinical psychiatric screening tool.
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