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Basic Personality Inventory

Douglas N. Jackson, Ph.D. © 1988, 1995, 1997

The Basic Personality Inventory (BPI) is an innovative, multiphasic personality assessment intended for use with clinical and normal populations to identify sources of maladjustment and personal strengths. The BPI can be used with both adolescents and adults, and is completed in half the time of other measures.


  • Assessment of psychopathology in counseling and psychiatric practices
  • Psychological evaluation as part of a conditional job offer for sensitive positions
  • Assessment in juvenile and adult correctional facilities, and court referrals
  • Research on alcoholism, eating disorders, and juvenile delinquency


Unique Features
The BPI measures twelve (12) distinct psychological traits. Scale names were chosen to avoid potentially inaccurate diagnostic labels while emphasizing construct dimensions of psychopathology. The BPI makes use of sophisticated procedures to minimize susceptibility to the social desirability response bias. It is sensitive to the tendency to describe oneself in favorable ("fake-good") and unfavorable ("fake-bad") terms. The easy reading level makes it suitable for a variety of populations.

Extensive Interpretative Materials
In addition to the unique features inherent in the test, the BPI Manual offers a wealth of information to facilitate interpretation of the results.
Detailed individual scale considerations based on the professional opinions of experienced psychologists
Discussion of the detection of invalid cases and of the role of faking and motivated distortion
Correlations with other well-established measures of psychopathology (for example, the MMPI)
Empirically derived profiles representing specific symptoms of psychopathology (for example, delusions and alcoholism)

BPI Scales
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Depression
  • Denial
  • Interpersonal Problems
  • Alienation
  • Persecutory Ideas
  • Anxiety
  • Thinking Disorder
  • Impulse Expression
  • Social Introversion
  • Self Depreciation
  • Deviation


Separate adult (N = 1419) and adolescent (N = 2210) norms are reported in the manual. Adult norms are based on a North American sample using comparisons with U.S. census data.


Internal consistency reliabilities for the BPI are routinely found to be acceptable. In one large psychiatric sample (N = 812), KR20 coefficients ranged between .66 and .86 (median = .76). A group of normal adults (N = 379) produced values ranging from .61 to .83 (median = .70), and a college sample (N = 52) gave coefficients ranging from .61 to .86 (median = .76). Test-retest reliabilities are similarly acceptable. Two studies (N = 123 and 168), each with retest intervals of one month, gave a combined range of .62 to .87 (median = .77). All told, these values indicate appreciable and stable reliabilities for BPI scale scores.


The BPI scales have demonstrated sizable correlations with other self-report measures intended to assess the same dimensions of psychopathology. For example, in a study of 235 substance abusers, BPI-Hypochondriasis correlated .73 with MMPI-Hypochondriasis. Other convergences were .55 for BPI-Depression and MMPI-Depression, .62 for BPI-Thinking Disorder and MMPI-Schizophrenia, and .58 for BPI-Social Introversion and MMPI-Social Introversion. BPI validities involving other clinical batteries (e.g., the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory) are similarly acceptable. Correlations between BPI scales and clinical ratings (by others) on like dimensions provide further support. In a study of 112 psychiatric patients, such correlations ranged from .32 to .51 (mean = .40), which compares favorably to an average correlation of .12 between the scales and ratings on irrelevant dimensions. Overall, such independent research strongly supports the BPI's validity.