Validity of the five-item Brief Symptom Rating Scale among subjects admitted for general health screening

J Formos Med Assoc. 2005 Nov;104(11):824-9.


Background and purpose: Hospital-based general health screening plays an important role in the early detection of mental disorders. The present study examined the validity of the 5-item Brief Symptom Rating Scale (BSRS-5) in subjects admitted for a 2-day general health screening program.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey with a modified 2-phase design was conducted at a medical center in Taipei. A total of 283 consecutive subjects who received health screening in a 1-month period completed the BSRS-5 in the first phase. There were 172 (60.8%) males and 111 (39.2%) females with a mean age of 54.4+/-12.0 years. 115 subjects received a standard psychiatric interview with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview-Plus in the second phase.

Results: In this hospital-based sample, the internal consistency (Cronbach alpha) coefficient for the BSRS-5 was 0.84 and the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve was 0.91 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.86-0.95]. The optimal cut-off point was 5/6. The rate of accurate classification was 82.2% (82.6% sensitivity, 81.8% specificity, 81.9% positive predictive value, 82.5% negative predictive value). The estimated prevalence of minor psychiatric morbidity in this sample was 27.2% (95% CI, 22.2-32.4%).

Conclusion: The BSRS-5 is an effective screening instrument for the identification of psychiatric morbidity in hospital-based health screening settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Examination*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity