Comparison of Eleven Short Versions of the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90-R) for Use in the Assessment of General Psychopathology

  • Jörg M. Müller
  • Christian Postert
  • Thomas Beyer
  • Tilman Furniss
  • Sandra Achtergarde


Eleven short versions of the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R) assessing general psychopathology, containing 5 to 53 items, were compared on the basis of data from a sample of one hundred mothers of 0-to-6-year-old children referred for treatment at a Child Psychiatric Family Day Hospital in Münster, Germany. The SCL short versions were compared with regard to internal consistency, sensitivity and specificity, ability to distinguish between subjects by a new test index (PDTS), and association with indicators of validity (SCL-90-R Global Severity Index, BDI scores). All short versions showed almost equally high internal consistency, sensitivity and specificity, and high correlations with validity indices. The PDTS test index describes a ‘good’ ability of the original SCL-90-R to differentiate between subjects, a ‘moderate’ performance for the BSI, the HSCL-25 and the SCL-27, and a ‘poor’ performance of the very short forms—according to the standards of interpreting PDTS scores. The SCL-10S is recommended for screening purposes because this scale represented the best compromise between economy and accuracy. However, for other research and clinical purposes, the use of one of the longer short versions (BSI, HSCL-25, or SCL-27) is recommended because of their superior discriminative ability.


SCL-90-R Symptom checklist Short version Internal consistency Validity PDTS Screening 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg M. Müller
    • 1
  • Christian Postert
    • 1
  • Thomas Beyer
    • 1
  • Tilman Furniss
    • 1
  • Sandra Achtergarde
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity Hospital MünsterMünsterGermany

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