New tricks for an old measure: The development of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-Brief (BIS-Brief)

Lynne Steinberg, Carla Sharp, Matthew S. Stanford, Andra Teten Tharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


The Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS), a 30-item self-report measure, is one of the most commonly used scales for the assessment of the personality construct of impulsiveness. It has recently marked 50 years of use in research and clinical settings. The current BIS-11 is held to measure 3 theoretical subtraits, namely, attentional, motor, and non-planning impulsiveness. We evaluated the factor structure of the BIS using full information item bifactor analysis for Likert-type items. We found no evidence supporting the 3-factor model. In fact, half of the items do not share any relation with other items and do not form any factor. In light of this, we introduce a unidimensional Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-Brief (BIS-Brief) that includes 8 of the original BIS-11 items. Next, we present evidence of construct validity comparing scores obtained with the BIS-Brief against the original BIS total scores using data from (a) a community sample of borderline personality patients and normal controls, (b) a forensic sample, and (c) an inpatient sample of young adults and adolescents. We demonstrated similar indices of construct validity that is observed for the BIS-11 total score with the BIS-Brief score. Use of the BIS-Brief in clinical assessment settings and large epidemiological studies of psychiatric disorders will reduce the burden on respondents without loss of information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-226
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Assessment
  • Barratt impulsiveness scale
  • Item response theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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