A Brief Agitation Rating Scale (BARS) for Nursing Home Elderly

Sanford I. Finkel, John S. Lyons, Rachel L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a brief agitation rating scale (BARS) derived from the Cohen‐Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI). Design: Test of reliability and validity of a new test. Setting: The Lieberman Geriatric Health Centre, a skilled nursing facility. Participants: Forty members of the Lieberman Geriatric Health Centre nursing staff, 232 residents, and a sample of 40 randomly selected residents. Measurements: Observational agitation ratings by registered nurses and certified nurses' assistants; item to total correlations for the CMAI on each of the three shifts; Pearson correlations between the 10‐item BARS and the BEHAVE‐AD and the BSSAD scales. Results: Internal consistency reliability for the BARS was .74 (for the day shift), .82 (evening shift), and .80 (night shift), compared with .86, .91, and .87 for the full CMAI. Each of the 232 residents' scores on the BARS was correlated with a total score from the CMAI separately on each shift. Correlations were of .95, .94, and .95. Thus, across all shifts, the BARS accounted for approximately 90 percent of the variance of the total score of the CMAI. Concurrent validity of the BARS was supported by significant correlation with BEHAVE‐AD and BSSD. Conclusions: The BARS represents a brief and effective mechanism to assess the presence and severity of physically aggressive, physically non‐aggressive, and verbally agitated behaviors in elderly nursing home residents. 1993 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-52
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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