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

Jichuan Wang, Brian C. Kelly, Brenda M. Booth, Russel S. Falck, Carl Leukefeld, Robert G. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse grant numbers R01 DA15363 and R01 DA14340 . The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or any other governing agency.


  • BSI-18
  • CFA model
  • Drug users
  • Measurement invariance
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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