The sensitivity and specificity of four self-report measures of disordered sleep - the Sleep Impairment Index (SII), the Sleep Disorders Questionnaire (SDQ), the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes About Sleep Scale (DBAS) and the Sleep-Wake Activity Inventory (SWAI) - were compared in subjects with insomnia and normal sleep. Nineteen young adult subjects met DSM-IV criteria for primary insomnia and another 19 were normal control subjects. Discriminatory characteristics of each measure were assessed using receiver operator characteristic curve analyses. Discriminatory power was maximised for each measure to produce cut-scores applicable for identification of individuals with insomnia. The DBAS, SII and SDQ psychiatric DIMS subscale were found to correlate, and discriminated well between the two groups. The SWAI nocturnal sleep subscale was not found to be an accurate discriminator. The results suggest differences in the measures in their ability to detect insomnia, and offer guidelines as to the optimal use of test scores to identify young adults suspected of insomnia.