John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio, USA
The behavioral inhibition and activation systems (BIS/BAS) represent neurological processes that have the potential to inform our understanding on behavioral outcomes. However, the exact measurement properties of the BIS/BAS scales used to assess these neurological processes remain uncertain. The present study used a comprehensive set of psychometric approaches to identify factor structure, most appropriate scoring, scale and conditional reliability, convergent and discriminant validity, and latent profiles. Undergraduate students (N=298) completed the BIS/BAS scales, the revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory Questionnaire (rRST), and measures of n-ormal personality and psychopathology. A subset (N=132) also completed a retest of BIS/BAS scales. Results indicated a five-factor ESEM model that includes general BIS/BAS bifactors as the most parsimonious, further differentiating the previously identified four-factor structure. Internal consistency and test-retest reliability estimates were adequate to very good for all scales. Conditional reliability was generally good from very low to above average scores. BIS/BAS general scales and subscales also demonstrated patterns of convergent validity with the rRST and discriminant validity with big five personality traits and psychopathology measures. Eight latent profiles showed qualitatively distinct patterns that correlated with mental health indicators. These results provide evidence of good psychometric properties for the BIS/BAS scales and can be used to inform scoring in future research.
Abbreviations: BIS/BAS – behavioral inhibition and activation systems; RST – Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory; rRST – revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory; ESEM – exploratory structural equation modeling; IRT – item response theory
Keywords: reinforcement sensitivity theory; BIS/BAS; exploratory structural equation modeling; item response theory; construct validity