, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 722-731
Date: 05 Nov 2009

The Personality Assessment Inventory: Clinical Utility, Psychometric Properties, and Normative Data for Bariatric Surgery Candidates

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The Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), an overall measure of personality and psychopathology, features a number of dimensions that may be useful in the psychological assessment of bariatric surgery candidates. However, its clinical utility is limited because psychometric properties of the PAI with bariatric surgery candidates have never been evaluated, and normative data for this population have never been published.


We examined the psychometric properties and clinical utility of the PAI with a large sample of bariatric surgery candidates (n = 546) presenting for evaluation in an urban medical center. Internal consistency reliability analyses were performed on the PAI full scales and subscales. Exploratory factor analysis using principal components analysis with oblique rotation was performed and the results compared with community, clinical, and medical samples. Normative data and scale elevation frequencies for the bariatric sample are presented.


Alpha coefficients and mean interitem correlations were acceptable and similar to the test standardization samples. Factor analyses supported the consistency of the underlying factor structure with bariatric surgery candidates and also revealed a factor for warmth and social support. Normative data indicate that overall bariatric surgery candidates appear quite similar to the community standardization sample. Sixteen percent of candidates reported significant (T ≥ 70) somatic complaints, consistent with the greater health problems in this sample.


Our findings support the clinical utility of the PAI in the psychological assessment of bariatric surgery candidates. The availability of PAI normative data and profile elevation statistics will help to facilitate clinical interpretation and inform treatment recommendations for candidates undergoing bariatric surgery.

The authors report no commercial interest associated with this study.