Temporal stability of the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 among Irish college students over four weeks

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Frank Houghton
Noreen Keane
Christopher Alan Lewis
Niamh Murphy
Sharon Houghton
Claire Dunne
Cite this article:  Houghton, F., Keane, N., Lewis, C. A., Murphy, N., Houghton, S., & Dunne, C. (2013). Temporal stability of the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 among Irish college students over four weeks. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 41(2), 197-198.


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Of the currently limited available data on the mental health of students in Ireland the most notable are provided in the College Lifestyle and Attitudinal National (CLAN) Survey (Hope, Dring, & Dring, 2005). Recently, Houghton et al. (2012) found among students at an Irish university that women reported significantly higher levels of symptomatology than men on each of the three 6-item subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 (BSI 18; Derogatis, 2001) (anxiety, depression, and somatization) and the Global Severity Index (GSI; summed total of the 18 items). Similarly, final-year students had significantly worse mental health than non-final-year students. Internal reliability, construct validity, and factor structure of the BSI 18, were reported but no data on the test-retest reliability of the measure. Our aim was to supplement these findings by reporting on the test-retest reliability of the BSI 18 in a small sample of Irish college students.

On two occasions, separated by four weeks, 28 Irish college students completed the BSI 18. Satisfactory levels of internal reliability (> .7; Cronbach’s α) were found for the depression (Time 1 α = .76, Time 2 α = .70), and anxiety (Time 1 α = .82, Time 2 α = .75) subscales, and the GSI (Time 1 α = .87, Time 2 α = .86), with the exception being somatization (Time 1 α = .52, Time 2 α = .76). At both administrations, scores on each measure were highly associated (somatization r = .50, p < .01; depression r = .44, p < .05; anxiety r = .59, p < .001; GSI r = .52, p < .001) and no significant difference in scores was found (somatization Time 1 M = 3.92 (2.69), Time 2 M = 3.55 (3.60), t = .57, p > .05; depression Time 1 M = 2.93 (2.89), Time 2 M = 2.89 (3.13), t = .06, p > .05; anxiety Time 1 M = 3.79 (4.24), Time 2 M = 3.25 (3.23), t = .87, p > .05; GSI Time 1 M = 10.64 (8.59), Time 2 M = 9.68 (8.40), t = .60, p > .05).

These data provide evidence for the internal reliability and temporal stability of the three subscales of the BSI 18 (anxiety, depression, and somatization) and the GSI over a 4-week period among a sample of Irish college students. These findings are in line with those reported across a range of samples and countries (e.g., Andreu et al., 2008; Coutinho, Ferreirinha, & Ribeiro, 2010). Although the generalizability of these findings is limited owing to the small sample size, the selectivity of the sample (i.e., college students, mainly women), and the small length of the testing period (i.e., four weeks), the BSI 18 was found to be temporally stable. These findings also provide additional psychometric evidence that attests to the reliability of the measures within Ireland. The BSI 18 can be commended as a tool for further research among college students in Ireland.

References

Andreu, Y., Galdón, M. J., Dura, E., Ferrando, M., Murgui, S., García, A., & Ibáñez, E. (2008). Psychometric properties of the Brief Symptoms Inventory-18 (BSI-18) in a Spanish sample of outpatients with psychiatric disorders. Psicothema, 20, 844-850.

Coutinho, J., Ferreirinha R., & Ribeiro, E. (2010). The Portuguese version of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale and its relationship with psychopathological symptoms. Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica, 37, 145-151.

Derogatis, L. R. (2001). BSI 18 Brief Symptom Inventory 18: Administration, scoring and procedures manual. Minneapolis, MN: Pearson Assessments.

Hope, A., Dring, C., & Dring, J. (2005). College Lifestyle and Attitudinal National (CLAN) Survey. In Health Promotion Unit: The health of Irish students (pp. 1-53). Dublin, Ireland: Health Promotion Unit, Department of Health & Children.

Houghton, F., Keane, N., Murphy, N., Houghton, S., Dunne, C., Lewis, C. A., & Breslin, M. J. (2012). The Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18): Norms for an Irish third-level college sample. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 33, 43-62. http://doi.org/jhd

Kline, P. (1986). A handbook of test construction: Introduction to psychometric design. London: Methuen.

Andreu, Y., Galdón, M. J., Dura, E., Ferrando, M., Murgui, S., García, A., & Ibáñez, E. (2008). Psychometric properties of the Brief Symptoms Inventory-18 (BSI-18) in a Spanish sample of outpatients with psychiatric disorders. Psicothema, 20, 844-850.

Coutinho, J., Ferreirinha R., & Ribeiro, E. (2010). The Portuguese version of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale and its relationship with psychopathological symptoms. Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica, 37, 145-151.

Derogatis, L. R. (2001). BSI 18 Brief Symptom Inventory 18: Administration, scoring and procedures manual. Minneapolis, MN: Pearson Assessments.

Hope, A., Dring, C., & Dring, J. (2005). College Lifestyle and Attitudinal National (CLAN) Survey. In Health Promotion Unit: The health of Irish students (pp. 1-53). Dublin, Ireland: Health Promotion Unit, Department of Health & Children.

Houghton, F., Keane, N., Murphy, N., Houghton, S., Dunne, C., Lewis, C. A., & Breslin, M. J. (2012). The Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18): Norms for an Irish third-level college sample. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 33, 43-62. http://doi.org/jhd

Kline, P. (1986). A handbook of test construction: Introduction to psychometric design. London: Methuen.

Christopher Alan Lewis, Division of Psychology, Institute for Health, Medical Sciences and Society, Glynd┼Ár University, Plas Coch Campus, Mold Road, Wrexham, LL11 2AW, Wales, UK. Email: [email protected]

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