Brief Symptom Inventory
Age Range: Individuals 13 years and older
Reading Level: 6th grade
Other Languages: English, Spanish
Administration: Paper-and-pencil, CD, or computer administration
Completion Time: 8–10 minutes (53 items; 5-point rating scale)
Norms: Adult nonpatients, Adult psychiatric outpatients, Adult psychiatric inpatients, Adolescent nonpatients
Scoring Options: Q-global™ Scoring & Reporting, Q™ Local Software, Mail-in Scoring Service, and Manual Scoring
Report Options: Interpretive, Profile, and Progress Reports
Publication Date: 1993
The efficient Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) instrument provides patient-reported data to help support clinical decision-making at intake and during the course of treatment in multiple settings.
We also distribute the BSI® 18 test.
How to Use This Test
Psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can use the BSI instrument to help:
- Assess patients at intake for psychological problems
- Objectively support care management decisions
- Measure patient progress during and after treatment to monitor change
- Provide coutcomes measurement for treatment programs and providers through aggregated patient information
- The BSI test is brief and requires only 8-10 minutes to complete, making it well-suited for repeated administrations over time to evaluate patient progress.
- The BSI instrument provides an overview of a patient's symptoms and their intensity at a specific point in time.
- The Global Severity Index (GSI) is designed to help quantify a patient's severity-of-illness and provides a single composite score for measuring the outcome of a treatment program based on reducing symptom severity.
- The reliability, validity, and utility of the BSI instrument have been tested in more than 400 research studies.
SOM - Somatization
O-C - Obsessive-Compulsive
I-S - Interpersonal Sensitivity
DEP - Depression
ANX - Anxiety
HOS - Hostility
PHOB - Phobic Anxiety
PAR - Paranoid Ideation
PSY - Psychoticism
GSI - Global Severity Index, Helps measure overall psychological distress level
PSDI - Positive Symptom Distress Index, Helps measure the intensity of symptoms
PST - Positive Symptom Total, Reports number of self-reported symptoms
The adult nonpatient norms are based on 974 individuals—494 males and 480 females. Approximately 85% of the sample was white and 60% was married. The mean age was 46.
Adult Psychiatric Outpatient
The adult psychiatric outpatient norms are based on 1,002 individuals—425 males and 577 females. Approximately 67% of the sample was white and 46% was single. The mean age was 31.2.
Adult Psychiatric Inpatient
The adult psychiatric inpatient norms are based on 423 individuals—158 males and 265 females. Approximately 56% of the sample was white and 44% was single. The mean age was 33.1.
The adolescent norms are based on 2,408 individuals—1,601males and 807 females. The data were gathered in six separate schools in two states. Approximately 58% of the sample was white, and the mean age was 15.8.
Profile Report (Product Number 51451)
Presents raw and normalized T scores for each of the nine Primary Symptom Dimensions and the three Global Indices. For adults, the plotted T scores are profiled based on your choice of the nonpatient, outpatient or inpatient norms. (The T scores for the remaining norm groups are printed below the profile.) For adolescents, the plotted T scores are based on the adolescent nonpatient norms.
View a sample Profile Report.
Interpretive Report (Product Number 51457)
In addition to providing a profile of scores for the nine Primary Symptom Dimensions and the three Global Indices, the interpretive report provides a narrative overview of the client's symptoms at the global level and specific statements describing the individual symptom scale scores. In addition, it includes a Symptoms of Note section that lists all items for which the client chose the "extremely distressed" or "quite a bit distressed" response. These statements can be valuable for understanding the individual's current status and for use by the clinician in follow-up interviews.
View a sample Interpretive Report.
Progress Report (Product Number 51433)
This report is designed for monitoring a client's progress over time. Provided at no additional charge, it graphically displays scale-by-scale changes in a client's scores for up to five previously reported BSI administrations. The progress report is based on nonpatient norms.
View a sample BSI Progress Report.
Q-global™ Web-based Administration, Scoring, and Reporting – Enables you to quickly assess and efficiently organize examinee information, generate scores, and produce accurate comprehensive reports all via the Web.
Q™ Local Software - Enables you to score assessments, report results, and store and export data on your computer.
Mail-in Scoring Service - Specially designed answer sheets are mailed to us for processing within 24–48 hours of receipt and returned via regular mail.
Manual Scoring - Administer assessments on answer sheets and score them quickly yourself with an answer key.
Getting Started with Q-global Training Series
View these brief training modules about Q-global
BSI® (Brief Symptom Inventory) Introduction
This pre-recorded 20-30 minute session allows you to learn at your leisure. All you need is access to the Internet and the sound enabled on your computer. Please keep in mind that the session may take a few minutes to load.
Want to learn more about the Brief Symptom Inventory? Learn more about the areas assessed, information obtained, and other key information.
Frequently asked questions follow. Click on a question to see the response.
Do any of the BSI reports contain all of the normative groups?
The BSI Interpretive and Profile Reports provide information on all three adult normative groups: nonpatient, psychiatric outpatient, and psychiatric inpatient. The BSI Profile Report graphically displays the data using the norm group of your choice. The BSI Interpretive Report graphically displays the data using the nonpatient norms. The other T scores are listed below this profile graph.
How can I find out the statistical relationships between the BSI test and SCL-90-R assessments?
See Table 13 in the BSI manual.
Is the BSI available in other languages?
The BSI assessment is available in Spanish and French for Canada. Forms for the Spanish version are available for use with the MICROTEST Q system and hand-scoring. Forms for the French for Canada version are available for use with hand-scoring only.
What is the difference between the SCL-90-R assessment and the original SCL-90 assessment?
The SCL-90 assessment is an unnormed precursor to the SCL-90-R assessment. The original SCL-90 anxiety scale did not work and its obsessive-compulsive scale was very weak. After the assessment was revised, norms were developed for the revised assessment (SCL-90-R), and the BSI assessment was developed from that. Most research has been conducted using the SCL-90-R and BSI instruments.