Behavior Data Systems
Assessment Tests and Interviews Reliable Computer Graded Assessment


Self-Audit (SA)

The Self-Audit (SA) is an objective, standardized and automated (computer scored) self-administered test. It is designed for adult counseling and treatment program intake. The Self-Audit (SA) can also be used in HMO's, EAP programs, courts, probation and community corrections settings. The Self-Audit (SA) consists of 160 items and takes 30 to 35 minutes to complete. It can be administered individually or in group settings. The Self-Audit (SA) contains nine (9) measures (scales): 1.Truthfulness Scale, 2. Distress Scale, 3. Resistance Scale, 4. Morale Scale, 5. Violence Scale, 6. Alcohol Scale, 7. Drugs Scale and 8. Stress Coping Abilities Scale. 9. Self Esteem Scale.

* Self Audit *
  • Counseling and treatment programs
  • HMO's and EAP programs
  • Court, probation and community corrections
  • Adult (male and female) clients/offenders

Nine Scales (Measures)

The nine Self-Audit (SA) scales are summarized as follows:

  1. Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the client was while completing the SA. It identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. It identifies attempts to fake good.
  2. Distress Scale: Measures pain, misery and suffering. Distress incorporates physical pain, mental abuse, anxiety anguish and depression.
  3. Resistance Scale: Measures the client's defensiveness, resistance to help and uncooperativeness. This scale score varies directly with the client's attitude and outlook. Some people resist help; whereas, others accept it.
  4. Morale Scale: Measures the client's mental outlook with respect to enthusiasm, confidence and willingness to work through hardships.
  5. Violence (Lethality) Scale: Measures the client's propensity for using force to injure, damage or destroy. This scale identifies people that are dangerous to themselves or others.
  6. Alcohol Scale: Measures alcohol (beer, wine and other liquor) use and the severity of abuse. Alcohol is a licit substance.
  7. Drugs Scale: Measures drug (marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, LSD, crack, barbiturates and heroin) use and the severity of abuse. Drugs refer to illicit substances.
  8. Stress Coping Abilities Scale: Measures how well the client handles stress. This is a non-introversive screen for identifiable (diagnosable) emotional and mental health problems.
  9. Self-Esteem Scale: Measures the client explicit valuing and appraisal of self. Self-Esteem incorporates an attitude of acceptance-approval versus rejection-disapproval.

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The Self-Audit differs from the Victim Index (VI) in that the SA contains a Violence (Lethality) Scale and an individual Alcohol Scale and Drugs Scale. In contrast, the Victim Index (VI) has a Self-Esteem Scale, Suicide Ideation Scale and Substance Abuse Scale. To further contrast these two tests, their scales (measures) are listed below.

Self-Audit   Victim Index
1. Truthfulness Scale 1. Truthfulness Scale
2. Distress Scale 2. Distress Scale
3. Resistance Scale 3. Resistance Scale
4. Morale Scale 4. Morale Scale
5. Violence Scale 5. Suicide Ideation Scale
6. Alcohol Scale 6. Self-Esteem Scale
7. Drugs Scale 7. Substance Abuse Scale
8. Stress Coping Abilities Scale 8. Stress Coping Abilities Scale
9. Self Esteem

Some evaluators will want to compare test-generated reports. An example Self-Audit report can be viewed by clicking on the Example Self-Audit Report link. An example Victim Index report can be reviewed by clicking on the Example Victim Index Report link.

In response to counselors' requests, the Victim Index was modified and called the Self-Audit. Some clinicians requested violence, alcohol and drug information and were willing to let go of Suicide Ideation, Substance Abuse and Self-Esteem measures. Behavior Data Systems, Ltd. (BDS) decided to address this situation by developing the SA and concurrently maintaining the VI. This gives assessors a choice. They can select the test that best meets their needs.

Why Use the Self-Audit?

When dealing with clients and patients, it is important to accurately assess their problems and needs. The Self-Audit (SA) helps clients in understanding their life situation and possible stressors. Early problem identification facilitates quicker intervention and treatment.

At one sitting of approximately 30 to 35 minutes, staff can acquire a vast amount of patient information that can influence subsequent intervention and treatment outcome.

Advantages of Screening

Screening and assessment instruments filter out individuals with problems warranting referral for a more comprehensive evaluation and counseling or treatment. This filtering system works as follows:


Risk Category
Risk Range Percentile Total Percentage
Low Risk 0-39% 39%
Medium Risk 40-60% 30%
Problem Risk 70-89% 20%
Severe Risk 90-100% 11%

Reference to the above table shows that a problem is not identified until a scale score is at the 70th percentile or higher. These risk range percentiles are based upon clients that have completed the SA. This procedure is fair and avoids extremes, i.e., over-identification and under-identification of problems.

A doctor, counselor, health care professional or agency may refer clients with identified problems for further evaluation or treatment services. In the case presented above, eleven percent (11%) of the adults screened (Severe Problem) would be referred for counseling or treatment. In this example, 89% (contingent upon adopted policy) of the people screened would not be referred for additional (and unnecessary as well as expensive) services.

Savings (dollars) could be large with no compromises in clients receiving appropriate evaluation and/or treatment services. Indeed, it is likely more clients would receive help. Without a screening program, there is usually more risk of over or under-utilization of additional specialized services.

Test Booklets

The Self-Audit (SA) test booklets are provided free. These booklets contain 160 items and are written at a 5th to 6th grade reading level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read the SA.


In brief, SA reports summarize the client's self-report history, explain what attained scale scores mean and offer specific score-related recommendations.

Within 2½ minutes of test data entry, automated (computer scored) reports are printed on-site. These reports summarize a lot of information in an easily understood format. For example, reports include an SA profile (graph), which summarizes all scale scores at a glance. Also included are scale scores, an explanation of what each score means and specific score-related recommendations. In addition, significant items (direct admissions) are highlighted, and answers to a built-in interview (last sequence of items) are presented. Emphasis is placed on having meaningful reports that are helpful and easily understood. To review a Self Audit Example report click on the Self Audit Example Report link.

Reliability, Validity and Accuracy

The SA has a proprietary built-in database that insures inclusion of all administered tests in a confidential (no names) manner. SA reliability, validity and accuracy statistics are reported herein. This analysis demonstrates that SA scales have high reliability and validity coefficients.

For example, interscale consistencies (coefficient alphas) for SA scales are reported in the following table for clients tested with the SA.

Self Audit Scales Coefficient Alpha Significant Level
Truthfulness .88 p<.001
Distress .89 p<.001
Resistance .93 p<.001
Morale .92 p<.001
Violence (Lethality) .89 p<.001
Alcohol .90 p<.001
Drugs .91 p<.001
Stress Coping .93 p<.001
Self Esteem .91 p<.001

All SA scales have alpha coefficients above the professionally accepted standard of .75 and are highly reliable. And, all coefficient alphas are significant at the p<.001 level.

Early studies used criterion measures and were validated with other tests, e.g., Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L-Scale and F-Scale, 16PF, Victim Index, Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, Treatment Intervention Inventory (TII), etc. The SA evolved from the Victim Index. Much of this research is summarized in the document titled "SA: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." To review this research, click on the Self-Audit Research link.

The Self-Audit is introduced on Behavior Data Systems' website to expand its normative sample. As always, used diskettes shall be returned to Behavior Data Systems for inclusion in the SA expanding database.


The SA is available in Windows diskettes. Windows diskettes require a one time set-up procedure after which SA data (25 or 50-test) diskettes are used to score and print reports. Training manuals are provided free, and new test users can be walked through these scoring procedures over the Behavior Data Systems telephone line.

Proprietary SA diskettes contain 25 or 50 test applications. These 3½" diskettes score, interpret and print reports on-site. Once an SA account is established, ordered diskettes are mailed to users. When all test applications on an SA diskette are used, these diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems where demographics and test data are downloaded into the SA database for subsequent database analysis. The proprietary "delete names" program is activated by the test user with a few keystrokes to delete all client names from diskettes before they are returned to Behavior Data Systems. Deleting all client names insures protection of each client's confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501).


The SA system contains a proprietary built-in database. Earlier it was noted that all SA used diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems, and the test data is downloaded into the SA's expanding database. This database allows ongoing research and testing program summary, features that were only rarely possible before. Ongoing research insures quality control. Annual testing program summaries provide for program self-evaluation. And, these features are provided free.  To review a summary report click on the Annual Summary Report link.

Built-in Database

The SA permits ongoing research and annual program summary -- at no additional cost. As discussed earlier, when the 25 or 50-test diskettes are used, used diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems and downloaded into the expanding SA database. Advantages of this proprietary database are many and include database analysis and annual summary reports.

No personal information, names, social security numbers, etc. are ever downloaded into any test database.

Returned diskettes can be summarized on a state, department, agency or provider basis -- at no additional cost to users. To review an example annual summary report, click on this Annual Summary Report link.

After downloading test data returned diskettes are destroyed.

In summary, all returned SA diskettes' test data is centrally filed at Behavior Data Systems' offices in the SA database. This database has many advantages. Database analysis permits ongoing cost efficient research that includes scale alpha coefficients, ANOVA, frequency distributions, correlations, cross-tab statistics along with reliability, validity and accuracy determinations. To review the "Self-Audit: Inventory of Scientific Findings," click on the Self-Audit Research link.

Staff Member Input

The SA is to be used in conjunction with experienced staff judgment. When available, adjustment records should be reviewed, as they can contain important information not provided or incorrectly provided by the client. Experienced staff should also interview the client. For these reasons, the following statement is contained in each SA report: "Self-Audit results are confidential and are working hypotheses. No diagnosis or decision should be based solely upon these results. These test results are to be used in conjunction with experienced staff judgment and review of available records."

How Do You Assess Denial?

Sometimes, clients minimize, exaggerate or distort the truth. Sometimes, this is deliberate, but it can be inadvertent. People tend to want to appear in a good light -- it's normal. Yet, in many cases, it's important to determine whether or not the client is telling the truth. The SA contains a Truthfulness Scale that determines how truthful the respondent was while completing the test. This scale identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. And the SA doesn't stop there. Error of measurement due to untruthfulness is measured for each scale and reported as Truth-Corrected scores. Truth-Corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores.

Unique Self-Audit (SA) Features

Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the respondent was while completing the SA. This scale identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. The SA Truthfulness Scale has been validated with other tests, truthfulness studies and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L- and F-Scales. It consists of a number of items that most people agree or disagree with. This important scale has been demonstrated to be reliable, valid and accurate. Much of this research is reported in the document titled: "SA: An Inventory of Scientific Findings."

Truth-Corrected Scores: Truth-Corrected scores have proven to be important in enhancing assessment accuracy. This proprietary truth correction procedure is comparable to the MMPI K-Scale correction methodology. The SA Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with the other eight SA scales. The truth correction equation then converts raw scores to Truth-Corrected scores. Raw scores reflect what the respondent wants you to know. Truth-Corrected scores reveal what the respondent is trying to minimize. Truth-Corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores.

More Than Just Another Alcohol or Drug Test: In addition to substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, the SA assesses other important areas of inquiry like distress, morale, self-esteem, resistance and stress coping abilities. The SA is designed specifically for adult client assessment and screening.

Three Ways to Give the Self-Audit: The SA can be administered in three different ways: 1. Paper-pencil test booklet format. 2. The SA can be given directly on the computer screen. And, 3. The proprietary "human voice audio" involves both the computer and a headset. The respondent uses the up-down arrow keys. As the respondent goes from question to answer with the arrow keys, that question or answer is highlighted on the monitor (screen) and simultaneously read to the respondent. These test administration modes are discussed in the "SA: Orientation and Training Manual." Each of these test administration modes is made available so test users can select the mode that is best suited to their needs.

Reading Impaired Assessment: Reading impaired clients represent as many as 20+ percent of the people tested with the SA. Behavior Data Systems' tests are written at a 5th to 6th grade reading level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read and understand the SA. Behavior Data Systems also offers a proprietary alternative for reading impaired assessment, which is called "human voice audio."

Human Voice Audio: Human voice audio is available in English and Spanish. It helps resolve many reading and cultural difference issues. A person's passive vocabulary is often greater than their active (spoken) vocabulary. Hearing items read out loud often helps reduce cultural and communication problems. As discussed earlier, "human voice audio" test presentation requires a computer, earphones and simple instructions regarding how to operate the up-down arrow keys located on the computer keyboard.

Confidentiality: Behavior Data Systems encourages test users to delete respondent names from diskettes before they are returned to Behavior Data Systems. This proprietary name deletion procedure involves a few keystrokes. Once respondent names are deleted, they are gone and cannot be retrieved. Deleting names does not delete demographics or test data which is downloaded into the SA database for subsequent analysis. The "delete names" procedure insures client confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501).

Test Data Input Verification: This proprietary program allows the person that inputs test data from the answer sheet into the computer to verify the accuracy of their data input. In brief, test data is input twice, and any inconsistencies between the first and second data entries are highlighted until corrected. When the first and second data entries match or are the same, the staff person may continue. Use of this data input verification procedure is optional, yet strongly recommended by Behavior Data Systems.

Inventory of Scientific Findings: Much of the SA research has been gathered together in one document titled "SA: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." This document summarizes SA research chronologically -- as the studies were completed. This innovative chronological reporting format was established largely because of the SA database, which permits annual database analysis of all tests administered that year. It also allows the reader to observe the evolution of the SA.

Staff Training: Behavior Data Systems' staff is available to participate in SA training programs scheduled by test users in the United States. Large departments, agencies or statewide programs often are interested in SA training. Sometimes, smaller agencies or departments get together for a joint SA training session. Behavior Data Systems gives attendees certificates attesting to their SA training.

Staff training is also provided on Fridays at Behavior Data Systems' Phoenix offices from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. These training sessions are free. To participate, contact Behavior Data Systems at least ten days in advance. Participation is on a first call, first scheduled basis.

Free Examination Kit. A 1-test demonstration diskette is available on a 30-day cost free basis. Demo diskettes are in Windows format. The Examination Kit includes a 1-test demo diskette, installation CD (with instructions), test booklet, answer sheet and some descriptive materials. Behavior Data Systems, Ltd. does want the test booklet and diskette returned within 30 days.

Selecting a Client Assessment Instrument or Test

If you are selecting a client assessment instrument, the following "comparison checklist" should prove to be helpful. This checklist itemizes important assessment and screening qualities. The "Other" column represents any other test you might want to compare to the Self-Audit (SA).

Designed Specifically for Adult Assessment Yes  
Test Reliability and Validity Research Provided Yes  
Test Completed in 30 to 35 Minutes Yes  
On-Site Reports within 2½ Minutes Yes  
Truthfulness Scale to Detect Denial Yes  
Truth-Corrected Scores for Accuracy Yes  
Three Test Administration Options Yes  
  1. Paper-Pencil (English and Spanish) Yes  
  2. On Computer Screen (English and Spanish) Yes  
  3. Human Voice Audio (English and Spanish) Yes  
Delete Names (Confidentiality) Procedure Yes  
HIPAA (federal regulation) Compliant Yes  
Test Data Input Verification (Accurate Scoring) Yes  
Built-in Database Yes  
Annual Database Research (Free) Yes  
Annual Testing Program Summary (Free) Yes  
Specific Scale Score Recommendations Yes  
Alcohol and Drugs Scales Yes  
Distress Scale Yes  
Morale Scale Yes  
Violence (Lethality) Scale Yes  
Resistance Scale Yes  
Stress Coping Abilities Scale Yes  
Available in MS-DOS Yes  
Available in Windows Yes  
Comprehensive Assessment (Nine Scales) Yes  
Easily Understood and Helpful Reports Yes  
ASAM Compatible Recommendations Yes  
Staff Training -- Free Yes  
Examination Kits -- Free Yes  
Thirty-Day Money Back Guarantee Yes  
Very Affordable Test Unit Fee Yes  
Self Esteem Scale Yes  

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SA reports summarize the client's self-report history, explain what attained scores mean and offer specific score related recommendations.

Within 2½ minutes of test data entry, automated (computer-scored) reports are printed on-site. These reports summarize a lot of information in an easily understood format. Emphasis is placed on having meaningful reports that are helpful and easily understood.

When dealing with clients it is important to accurately assess  their problems and needs.  The Self-Audit (SA) helps clients understand their life situation.  The Self-Audit (SA) contains eight scales (measures):  1. Truthfulness Scale, 2. Distress Scale, 3. Resistance Scale, 4. Morale Scale, 5. Violence (Lethality) Scale, 6. Alcohol Scale, 7. Drugs Scale 8. Stress Coping Abilities Scale and 9. Self-Esteem.

Additional information can be provided upon request by writing:
Behavior Data Systems, Ltd.
P.O. Box 44256
Phoenix, Arizona 85064-4256

Our telephone number is (602) 234-3506.
Our fax number is (602) 266-8227.
and our e-mail address is

Behavior Data Systems, Ltd. Copyright © 2007