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Addict Behav. 2010 Jan;35(1):23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.08.003. Epub 2009 Aug 14.

Examining factorial structure and measurement invariance of the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI)-18 among drug users.

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  • 1Children Research Institute, Center for Clinic and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC 20010, USA.


The purpose of this study is to examine the factorial structure of the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 (BSI-18) and test its measurement invariance among different drug using populations. A total sample of 710 drug users was recruited using respondent-drive sampling (RDS) from three states: Ohio (n=248), Arkansas (n=237), and Kentucky (n=225). The results of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) show: 1) the BSI-18 has a three-factor structure (somatization, depression, and anxiety) with an underlying second-order factor (global severity index of distress); and 2) its factorial structure and metric (factor loadings) are invariant across populations under study. However, the scalars (intercepts) of the BSI-18 items are not invariant, and the means of the latent factors also varied across populations. Our findings provide evidence of a valid factorial structure of the BSI-18 that can be readily applied to studying drug using populations.

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