BIS/BAS Levels and Psychiatric Disorder: An Epidemiological Study

  • Sheri L. JohnsonEmail author
  • R. Jay Turner
  • Noboru Iwata


Behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation levels have been theorized to relate to a broad range of psychopathologies. To date, however, studies have focused on a single diagnosis, and the measures used to assess different psychopathologies have varied greatly. This study assessed how levels of behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation relate to lifetime diagnoses of depression, anxiety, drug abuse and dependence, alcohol abuseand dependence, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and conduct disorder. A representative community sample of 1,803 individuals between the ages of 19 and 21 in the Miami area was surveyed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and the Behavioral Inhibition and Behavioral Activation Scales (BIS/BAS; C. S. Carver & T. White, 1994). Results supported the role of BIS as a vulnerability factor for depression and anxiety and of BAS Fun Seeking for drug abuse and noncomorbid alcohol diagnoses. Other models were not supported. Goals in understanding BIS and BAS are described, including the need for prospective studies with a broader array of behavioral indices.

personality epidemiology motivation psychopathology 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheri L. Johnson
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Jay Turner
    • 2
  • Noboru Iwata
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral Gables
  2. 2.Department of SociologyFlorida State UniversityTallahassee
  3. 3.Division of Health ScienceUniversity of East AsiaShimonosekiJapan

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