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Psychol Assess. 2013 Jun;25(2):631-42. doi: 10.1037/a0032161. Epub 2013 Apr 1.

The Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11: reassessment of its structure in a community sample.

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Department of Psychology, Universityof California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA90095, USA.


The Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (Version 11; BIS-11; Patton, Stanford, & Barratt, 1995) is a gold-standard measure that has been influential in shaping current theories of impulse control, and has played a key role in studies of impulsivity and its biological, psychological, and behavioral correlates. Psychometric research on the structure of the BIS-11, however, has been scant. We therefore applied exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to data collected using the BIS-11 in a community sample (N = 691). Our goal was to test 4 theories of the BIS-11 structure: (a) a unidimensional model, (b) a 6 correlated first-order factor model, (c) a 3 second-order factor model, and (d) a bifactor model. Among the problems identified were (a) low or near-zero correlations of some items with others; (b) highly redundant content of numerous item pairs; (c) items with salient cross-loadings in multidimensional solutions; and, ultimately, (d) poor fit to confirmatory models. We conclude that use of the BIS-11 total score as reflecting individual differences on a common dimension of impulsivity presents challenges in interpretation. Also, the theory that the BIS-11 measures 3 subdomains of impulsivity (attention, motor, and nonplanning) was not empirically supported. A 2-factor model is offered as an alternative multidimensional structural representation.

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