Impulsiveness - Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-Brief (BIS)

An 8-item version of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale is available. The 30-item BIS is a commonly used measure of impulsiveness. The original scale has undergone a number of revisions. In 2013, Lynne Steinberg and her team evaluated an 11-item version.  Based on the evidence, an 8-item version was developed. The 8-item version is knows as BIS-Brief

Each item is rated on a 4-point scale as follows.

1 = rarely/never
2 = occasionally
3 = often
4 = almost always/always


The items ask the participants about thinking, planning, and self-control.

The items  may be used for education and research. purposes. The PsycTESTS entry included the following permissions statement.
Test content may be reproduced and used for non-commercial research and educational purposes without seeking written permission. Distribution must be controlled, meaning only to the participants engaged in the research or enrolled in the educational activity. Any other type of reproduction or distribution of test content is not authorized without written permission from the author and publisher. Always include a credit line that contains the source citation and copyright owner when writing about or using any test.
The 8-item list is in PsycTESTS:

Steinberg, L., Sharp, C., Stanford, M. S., & Tharp, A. T. (2013). Barratt Impulsiveness Scale–Brief [Database record]. Retrieved from PsycTESTS. doi:

Items are also included in Steinberg et al. (2013).


Reliability findings reported by Steinberg et al. (2013) using IRT analysis was approximately .80 and Cronbach's alpha was .78.


Learn more about test statistics in Applied Statistics: Concepts for Counselors available on and in many other worldwide markets served by AMAZON.


Steinberg et al. (2013) reported evidence of construct validity based on three samples of participants in three age groups. They found similar correlations between the 8-item version and the full 30-item version. The article also includes correlations with other measures in clinical samples.

A more recent study supported the utility of the BIS-Brief in an adolescent sample. The authors noted two-dimensions of the scale (Charles, Floyd, & Barry, 2019). Link to Sage online publication.


Barratt, E. S. (1959). Anxiety and impulsiveness related to psychomotor efficiency. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 9, 191–198. doi:10.2466/pms.1959.9.3.191

Barratt, E. S. (1985). Impulsiveness subtraits: Arousal and information processing. In J. T. Spence & C. E. Izard (Eds.), Motivation, emotion, and personality (pp. 137–146). North Holland, the Netherlands: Elsevier.

Steinberg, L., Sharp, C., Stanford, M. S., & Tharp, A. T. (2013). New tricks for an old measure: The development of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale–Brief (BIS-Brief). Psychological Assessment, 25, 216-226. doi:

Steinberg, L., Sharp, C., Stanford, M. S., & Tharp, A. T. (2013). Barratt Impulsiveness Scale–Brief [Database record]. Retrieved from PsycTESTS. doi:

If you are working on a survey  project, you may also find Creating Surveys helpful. Available on AMAZON.

Resource Link:  A – Z Test Index

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