Development and validation of the GAIN Short Screener (GSS) for internalizing, externalizing and substance use disorders and crime/violence problems among adolescents and adults

Am J Addict. 2006;15 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):80-91. doi: 10.1080/10550490601006055.


The Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN)1 is a 1-2 hour standardized biopsychosocial that integrates clinical and research assessment for people presenting to substance abuse treatment. The GAIN - Short Screener (GSS) is 3-5 minute screener to quickly identify those who would have a disorder based on the full 60-120 minute GAIN and triage the problem and kind of intervention they are likely to need along four dimensions (internalizing disorders, externalizing disorders, substance disorders, and crime/violence). Data were collected from 6,177 adolescents and 1,805 adults as part of 77 studies in three dozen locations around the United States that used the GAIN. For both adolescents and adults the 20-item total disorder screener (TDScr) and its four 5-item sub-screeners (internalizing disorders, externalizing disorders, substance disorders, and crime/violence) has good internal consistency (alpha of .96 on total screener), is highly correlated (r = .84 to .94) with the 123-item longer scales in the full GAIN. The GSS also does well in terms of its receiver operator characteristics (90% or more under the curve in all analyses) and has clinical decision-making cut points with excellent sensitivity (90% or more) for identifying people with a disorder and excellent specificity (92% or more) for correctly ruling out people who did not have a disorder. The GSS has good potential as an efficient screener for identifying people with co-occurring disorders across multiple systems and routing them to the right services and more detailed assessments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Crime / prevention & control*
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • United States
  • Violence / prevention & control*
  • Violence / psychology*

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