The Victim Index (VI) is designed for victims of physical and mental cruelty. The VI evaluates distress, measures morale, quantifies
self-esteem, screens resistance, identifies substance abuse, measures suicide potential and estimates a person's stress coping
abilities. The VI has 127 items and takes 20 to 25 minutes to complete. The Victim Index has eight scales (measures):
Distress Scale, 3. Morale Scale,
5. Resistance Scale,
Suicide Ideation Scale,
7. Substance (alcohol and other drugs) Abuse
Scale and 8. Stress Coping Abilities Scale. The
VI is different. It screens victims of physical and mental abuse for problems, aftereffects and other issues.
** Victim Index (VI) **
Assessment of victims of physical and mental abuse.
Victim assessment in clinics, court settings and service provider offices.
Adult evaluation, counseling and treatment agencies.
Eight Scales (Measures)
The eight Victim Index (VI) scales are described as follows:
Measures how truthful the client was while completing
the test. It identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. It identifies attempts to fake good.
2. Distress Scale:
Measures misery, pain and suffering. Distress incorporates
pain imposed by physical and mental abuse. Distress also includes anguish, anxiety and depression.
3. Morale Scale: Measures the client's mental outlook with respect to
enthusiasm, confidence and willingness to work through hardships.
4. Self-Esteem Scale: Reflects a client's explicit valuing and appraisal of
self. Self-Esteem incorporates an attitude of acceptance-approval versus rejection-disapproval. It is a person's perception of himself or herself.
5. Resistance Scale: Measures defensiveness, resistance to help and
uncooperativeness. This scale varies directly with the client's attitude and outlook. Some people resist help; whereas, others accept it.
6. Suicide Ideation Scale: Measures a client's probability of committing suicide.
Suicidal persons give many warnings regarding their intentions. Any elevated (70th percentile and higher) Suicide Ideation Scale
score should be taken seriously.
7. Substance Abuse Scale: Sometimes, it is important to determine whether or not
the victim is involved with substance (alcohol or other drugs) use or abuse.
Stress Coping Abilities Scale: Measures how well the client handles stress.
This is a non-introversive way of screening identifiable (diagnosable) emotional and mental health problems.
The VI assesses attitudes and behaviors, yielding a victim profile. Paper-pencil test administration takes 20 to 25 minutes or less. VI
tests are computer-scored on-site. Reports are printed within 2½ minutes of data entry.
The VI was developed specifically for victim evaluation. It is much more than just another alcohol or drug test; consequently, it
measures important behaviors missed by other tests.
Why Use the VI?
Victim assessment instruments are rather rare. Even the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a generic
psychopathology test used on both victims and perpetrators alike. When dealing with victims, it's important to determine what their
problems and needs are.
Early problem detection facilitates
quicker intervention and treatment.
This type of information can also help in understanding the victim,
their presenting situation and possible contributing factors. And, it's
equally important to know when the victim is problem free. The VI is designed to help meet these needs.
"A Non-Introversive, Yet Comprehensive Assessment"
At one sitting of approximately 20 to 25 minutes' duration, staff can acquire a vast amount of victim information
that can influence subsequent intervention and treatment recommendations. As
noted earlier, early problem identification facilitates timely intervention, referral and/or treatment.
Advantages of Screening
Screening or assessment instruments filter out individuals with problems that may require referral for more comprehensive
evaluation and/or treatment. This filtering system works as follows:
VI RISK RANGES
Risk Range Percentile
0 - 39%
40 - 69%
70 - 89%
90 - 100%
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 the thousands of victims that have completed the Victim Index. This procedure is fair
and avoids extremes, i.e., over-identification and under-identification of problems.
A doctor, attorney, health care professional, agency,
court staff or other VI users might refer victims with identified problems
for further evaluation, intervention or treatment services. In the case
presented above, 31% of the people screened (Problem Risk and Severe Problem
Risk) could be referred for treatment. Or, only victims with serious problems
(Severe Problems, 11%) might be referred for additional services.
In these examples, 69% or 89% (contingent upon the
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 victims receiving appropriate evaluation and/or
treatment services. Indeed, it is likely that more victims would
receive help. Without a screening program, there is usually more risk of over
or under-utilization of additional professional services.
Another advantage of screening is knowing problem severity before involving or referring clients to treatment
programs. Problem severity must be taken into account when deciding upon
different intervention and treatment options. There are differences between
12-step programs, group counseling, individual counseling, outpatient
psychotherapy and inpatient treatment. Referrals are largely based upon
problem severity. And, problem identification cannot be disregarded.
VI scales identify the potential problem areas they screen. And, these scales (measures) are:
2. Distress Scale,
3. Morale Scale,
4. Self-Esteem Scale,
6. Substance Abuse
Scale, 7. Suicide Ideation Scale and
Stress Coping Abilities Scale.
VI test booklets are provided free. These booklets contain 127 items and are written at a 5th to 6th
grade reading level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read the VI. Test items are worded in a non-defensive manner. Yet,
scale content explores sensitive areas of inquiry. Test booklets are reusable.
In brief, VI reports summarize the victim'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)
3-page reports are printed on-site. These reports summarize a lot of
information in an easily understood format. For example, reports include a
VI 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 or unusual answers) 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 go directly to the example VI report, click on the
VI Report link.
After reviewing the report, you can return to this section by closing the Report's window or tab.
Validity and Accuracy"
Reliability, Validity and Accuracy
The VI has a proprietary built-in database that insures inclusion of all administered tests in a confidential (no names) manner. VI
reliability, validity and accuracy statistics are reported in the document titled " VI: An Inventory of Scientific Findings
Annual database analysis further demonstrates that VI scales have high reliability and validity coefficients with minimum interscale correlations.
For example, reliability coefficients (coefficient alphas) for VI scales are reported in the following table for victims tested with
the VI. This is only one among many VI samples.
VI RELIABILITY (N=452, 2000)
Stress Coping Abilities
All VI 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, MacAndrews, Taylor Manifest Anxiety, Treatment Intervention Inventory, SAQ-Adult Probation III, etc. Much of
this research is summarized in the document titled "VI: An Inventory of Scientific Findings."
Subsequently, discriminant and
predictive validity database analysis based studies further support VI reliability, validity and accuracy.
A VI research study is presented at the end of this webpage. To go directly to this research, click the
Research Study link. This research study link is also provided at the end of this webpage.
"Provides a Sound
Empirical Basis for Decisions"
Fairness goes beyond
reliability and validity. The term applies to test accuracy for demographic
groups like gender and ethnicity. VI scoring equations are adjusted, as
warranted, on an annual basis to insure accuracy and fairness.
The VI is available in Windows format. Windows diskettes require a one-time
setup procedure after which VI data 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 Behavior Data Systems,
Ltd.'s (BDS) telephone line.
Proprietary VI data diskettes contain 25 or 50 test applications. These 3½" diskettes score,
interpret and print reports on-site. Once a VI account is established,
ordered diskettes are mailed to users. Approximately 97% of orders are
filled and mailed back to users the same day. When all test applications are
used, diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems where demographics (e.g.,
gender, ethnicity, etc.) and test data are downloaded into the VI 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 "VI: Orientation and Training Manual" explains how
the VI works and should be read by staff. The "VI: Computer Operating Guide"
explains how to score tests, print or store reports and discusses other unique computer-related features.
The VI system contains a proprietary built-in database. Earlier, it was noted that all VI used
diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems, and the test data is downloaded into the expanding VI database.
This database allows ongoing research and testing program summary -- features
that were not possible before. Ongoing research insures quality control.
Annual testing program summaries provide for program self-evaluation. And, these features are provided free.
The VI 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, checked for viruses and downloaded into the expanding VI database.
Advantages of this proprietary database are many and include database (research) analysis and annual summary reports.
No personal information, names, social security numbers, etc. are ever downloaded into any
Returned diskettes can be summarized on a state, department or agency basis -- at no additional cost to users. Annual summary
reports provide information that permits testing program review. A summary report can be reviewed by clicking on the
Annual Summary Report link.
After downloading test data returned diskettes are destroyed.
In summary, all returned VI diskettes' test data is centrally filed at
Behavior Data Systems' offices in the VI 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. Click on the
VI Research Study link to review a VI research study.
Annual Summary Reports
Behavior Data Systems can access each of its tests' built-in databases for statistical analysis and summarization of all
tests administered in a year. Annual Summary Reports are prepared for state, department, agency and even some individual providers --
at no cost to them. These reports are provided as a professional courtesy to large volume test users. Summary reports include
demographics, court-history when relevant, and test statistics (reliability, validity and accuracy). Has anyone offered to summarize
your testing program? Annually? At no additional cost to you? Minimum testing volume for annual reports is 350 tests. There is no
maximum limit. Behavior Data Systems' annual reports range in size from 350 tests to over 55,000 tests annually.
An example Annual Summary Report can be viewed by clicking on this
Annual Summary Report link.
Input: The VI 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
respondent. Experienced staff should also interview the victim. For these
reasons, the following statement is contained in each VI report: "Victim
Index 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."
Why Develop the VI?
Victims are individuals. And, as such, they have their own individualized problems and concerns. Many are simply victims without
associated issues. Yet, there are some cases in which questions can be raised concerning the victim's role in the incident that resulted
in their being victimized. In these instances, it's helpful to clarify the victim's status, role and predisposition. The VI provides an
objective and standardized assessment of many of these important areas of inquiry.
Many evaluators, counselors and therapists become advocates of victims. It's a common reaction. The victim
has been mentally, emotionally, sexually and/or physically abused. Sometimes, professionals'
feelings get in the way of victim assessment. The VI was developed to
provide an honest, fair, objective and standardized assessment instrument.
It is a test that explores many sensitive areas of inquiry in an essentially
non-introversive manner. It also explores many attitudes and behaviors that
are important to victims' welfare, health, well-being, understanding and
self-actualization. The VI is designed to provide helpful information to people working with the victim.
"More Than Just Another
Alcohol or Drug Test"
How Do You Assess Denial?
Sometimes, victims minimize, exaggerate or distort the truth. Sometimes, this process is deliberate, but most of the time, it's
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 victim is telling the truth when describing their life situation. The VI 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 VI 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 VI Features
Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the client was while completing the
VI. This scale identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. The VI 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 "VI: An Inventory of Scientific Findings."
have proven to be important in enhancing assessment accuracy. This
proprietary truth correction procedure is comparable to the MMPI K-Scale
correction methodology. The VI Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with
the other six VI 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.
Substance Abuse Scale:
Is important because alcohol and/or drug abuse is often associated with
victimization. This scale measures alcohol and drug (marijuana, crack, ice,
cocaine, LSD, barbiturates, amphetamines and heroin) use and abuse.
Traditionally, we think of substance abuse in terms of the perpetrator.
However, there is a growing awareness that victims are sometimes a part of the substance abuse scene.
Suicide Ideation Scale:
Is important because suicide has been among the ten leading causes of death
for adults and third among college students. Victims of emotional, mental
and physical abuse react in different ways. No single group (age, gender,
ethnicity or socioeconomic status) is free from self-inflicted death.
Studies have shown that suicidal persons give many clues
and warnings regarding their intentions.
one commits suicide without letting others know how they are feeling.
Sometimes, these warnings are broad hints, sometimes subtle changes in
behavior and sometimes verbal statements of intent. All verbal indications
of potential suicide should be taken seriously. The suicidal decision is
usually not impulsive. Most often, it is premeditated. Although it might be
done impulsively and appear capricious, it is in fact a decision that is
given long consideration. And, once a person decides to kill him or herself, they
begin to act differently, e.g., withdrawn, preoccupied, changed eating or sleeping patterns, give gifts, etc.
A client scoring at or above the 70th percentile on the Suicide Ideation Scale is a suicidal risk. A client
scoring at or above the 90th percentile is a severe suicidal risk and should be seen by a certified/licensed mental health
professional. This important area of inquiry is missed by many tests used to screen victims.
Stress Coping Abilities Scale:
Measures how well the respondent handles tension, stress and pressure. This
scale goes beyond establishing whether or not the respondent is experiencing
stress. It determines how well the respondent
handles or copes with stress. Stress exacerbates emotional and
mental health symptoms. Consequently, this scale is a non-introversive way to
screen established (diagnosable) mental health problems. A respondent
scoring at or above the 90th percentile on the Stress Coping
Abilities Scale should be referred to a certified/licensed mental health
professional for a more comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis (along with a
written treatment plan), as warranted. This important area of inquiry is missed by many "victim" tests.
More than just another alcohol
or drug test. In addition to substance (alcohol and other drugs)
abuse, the VI assesses other important areas of inquiry like distress,
morale, self-esteem, resistance, suicide potential and stress coping
abilities. The VI is designed specifically for victim assessment and screening.
Three ways to give the VI.
The VI can be administered in three different ways:
1. Paper-pencil test booklet format.
2. The VI can be given directly on the computer screen. And,
3. 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 "VI: 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.
assessment. Reading impaired clients represent many of the people tested with the VI.
Behavior Data Systems' tests are written at 5th to 6th
grade reading level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read and understand the VI.
Behavior Data Systems also offers a proprietary
alternative for reading impaired assessment, which is called "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.
"The 'Delete Names' Procedure Insures Confidentiality"
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 VI 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
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.
Scientific Findings: Much of the VI research has been gathered
together in one document titled "VI: An Inventory of Scientific Findings."
This document summarizes
VI research chronologically -- as the studies were completed. This
innovative chronological reporting format was established largely because
of the VI database, which permits annual database analysis of all tests
administered that year. It also allows the reader to observe the evolution
of the VI into its current state-of-the-art position.
Behavior Data Systems'
staff are available to participate in VI training programs scheduled by test users in the United States. Large departments,
agencies or statewide programs often are interested in VI training. Sometimes, smaller agencies or departments get together for a joint VI
training session. Behavior Data Systems gives attendees certificates attesting to their VI 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.
Test Unit Fee (Cost): VI cost information
can be reviewed by clicking on the
Test Unit Fee (Cost)
link. There is only the one cost or charge, and that is the test unit fee.
Everything else is included at no additional cost to the test user. This
includes test booklets, answer sheets, training manuals, upgrades, ongoing
database research, annual summary testing reports, staff training, and
support services. Do not be misled by some test publishers' à la carte
pricing like separate costs for each test administration as well as for each
of the test-related items listed above. Instead of asking for the test
administration cost, ask for the total cost involved in using a test. We
believe Behavior Data Systems' one test unit fee is very affordable.
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 Victim Assessment Instrument or Test
If you are selecting a victim 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 Victim Index (VI).
TEST COMPARISON CHECKLIST
Designed Specifically for Victim Screening
Test Reliability & Validity Research Provided
Test Completed in 25 to 30 Minutes
On-Site Reports within 2½ Minutes
Truthfulness Scale to Detect Denial
Truth-Corrected Scores for Accuracy
Three Test Administration Options
1. Paper-Pencil (English and Spanish)
2. On Computer Screen (English and Spanish)
3. Human Voice Audio (English and Spanish)
Optical Scanner Scoring
Delete Names (Confidentiality) Procedure
HIPAA (federal regulation) Compliant
Test Data Input Verification (Accurate Scoring)
Annual Database Research (free)
Annual Test Program Summary (free)
Specific Scale Score Recommendations
Substance Abuse Scale
Suicide Ideation Scale
Stress Coping Abilities Scale
Comprehensive Assessment (Eight Scales)
Easily Understood and Helpful Reports
No Add-On Costs
Reading Impaired Assessment
Annual Summary Report (Free)
ASAM Compatible Recommendations
Staff Training (Free)
Examination Kits (Free)
Thirty-Day Money Back Guarantee
Very Affordable Test Unit Fee
"Several Levels of
Victim Index Interpretation"
An example 4-page Victim Index (VI) report follows this discussion of VI interpretation. It is provided as a ready reference to
augment this dialogue. There are several levels of VI interpretation ranging
from viewing the VI as a self-report to interpreting scale elevations and scale interrelationships. The research behind this test is available
The following table is a starting point for interpreting VI scale scores.
VI RISK RANGES
Risk Range Percentile
0 - 39%
40 - 69%
70 - 89%
90 - 100%
A problem is not identified until a scale score is at the
70th percentile or higher.
scale scores refer to percentile scores that are at or above the
are identified by scale scores at or above the 90th percentile.
Severe problems represent the highest 11 percent of respondents evaluated
with the VI. The VI database continues to expand with each VI test that is administered.
1. Truthfulness Scale:
Measures how truthful the client was while completing the test. It
identifies guarded and defensive people who attempt to minimize their
problems. Scores at or below the 89th percentile mean that all VI
scales are accurate. Scale scores in the 70th to 89th percentile
range are accurate because they have been Truth-Corrected. Scores at or
above the 90th percentile mean that all VI scales are inaccurate
(invalid) because the client was overly guarded, read things into test
items that aren't there, or was minimizing problems. Clients with
reading impairments might also score in this 90th to 100th percentile
scoring range. If not consciously deceptive, clients with elevated
Truthfulness Scale scores are uncooperative or have a need to appear in a good light.
The Truthfulness Scale score is important because it shows whether or not the client answered VI test items honestly.
Truthfulness Scale scores at or below the 89th
percentile indicate that all other VI scale scores are accurate.
One of the first things to do when reviewing a VI report is to check the
Truthfulness Scale score. The Truthfulness Scale can be interpreted
independently. Truthfulness Scale scores override
all other VI scale scores.
2. Distress Scale:
Measures distress, which is defined as "great pain, anxiety or sorrow and
acute physical or mental suffering." Distress is the emotional reaction to
extreme misfortune that causes pain, suffering, extreme discomfort or
misery. At lower levels of intensity, it may be described as discomfort;
whereas, at high levels of intensity, it is described as extreme or intense pain or suffering.
An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Distress
Scale score identifies a person with problematic distress (pain, suffering).
This level of distress is problematic in that it interferes with this
person's adjustment and lifestyle. A Distress Scale score in the Severe
Problem (90th to 100th percentile) range identifies severe pain,
suffering and distress. Severe distress can be incapacitating and result in
extreme emotionality, conflict and confusion. Reactions to extreme distress
are diverse. Depression may vary from mild down heartedness to despair;
whereas, anxiety can contribute to a persistent feeling of dread,
apprehension and impending disaster. Other reactions include emotional
withdrawal, emotional over reactivity and escape behaviors. At the extreme,
there may be a pervasive and distressing feeling of estrangement, which may
involve feelings of unreality. These extreme distress reactions can occur in
normal persons -- particularly after shock.
Elevated Distress Scale scores can be associated with
emotional and mental health symptomatology. That's why we would check the
Stress Coping Abilities Scale score. When both scale scores (Distress and
Stress Coping Abilities) are elevated, the probability of an identifiable (diagnosable)
mental health problem increases. The higher their elevations, the greater the
probability of a diagnosable mental health problem. In these instances,
referral to a certified/licensed mental health professional is often
warranted to obtain a diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan.
Other elevated VI scale scores in conjunction with a
Severe Problem (90th to 100th percentile) Distress Scale score can
provide insight into the victim's situation while identifying important
areas for subsequent inquiry. For example, a Severe Problem Self-Esteem
Scale score in conjunction with an elevated Distress Scale score identifies
an unhappy person. This person is not only lonely or distressed, but
manifests a negative and disapproving rejection of themselves. Suicidal
ideation is very possible. And, if there is also an elevated Morale Scale
score, the probability of suicidal acting out is even further increased. We
also know that substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse can exacerbate symptomatology; consequently, an elevated Substance Abuse Scale
score would make this person's VI profile even more problematic.
The Distress Scale score can be interpreted individually
or in combination with other VI scale scores. It is likely that an elevated
Distress Scale score will be accompanied with other elevated VI scale scores.
3. Morale Scale:
Measures a person's emotional or mental condition with respect to their
self-assurance, enthusiasm and confidence in the face of adversity. The term
"morale" has been loosely defined in psychological literature. For some
people, the term refers to the interacting reaction of a group of people,
such as the esprit de corps or team spirit of a football team,
military unit, family, friends or work group. In the VI, we are referring to
the person's (or victim's) emotional or mental condition. This condition is
then manifested in a person's confidence, enthusiasm and morale.
An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Morale
Scale score indicates impaired self-assurance and confidence. The person
being evaluated is now doubting themselves, their abilities and is not
enthusiastic or ebullient anymore. A Severe Problem (90th to 100th
percentile) Morale Scale score depicts a rather reticent, inhibited and
self-doubting person. The lack of enthusiasm and withdrawal when faced with
adversity is common and can be pronounced.
An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Morale
Scale score in conjunction with an elevated Self-Esteem Scale score
reinforces the client's self-doubt. This person has impaired morale and
self-esteem, which is a malignant sign. The higher these scale elevations, the
more apparent the symptomatology. Scores in the Severe Problem (90th to 100th
percentile) range represent very serious symptomatology and are suggestive of
suicidal ideation. Add in an elevated Distress Scale score, and the prognosis deteriorates even further.
An elevated Morale Scale score with an elevated Resistance Scale score provides some insight regarding a withdrawn and
non-compliant or even resistant attitude. These people are difficult to work
with because their behavior can have self-fulfilling features. The isolation feeds resistance and vice versa.
An elevated Stress Coping Abilities Scale score in conjunction with an elevated Morale Scale score is suggestive of mental
health symptomatology. And, Severe Problem range (90th to 100th percentile) scorers should be referred to a
certified/licensed mental health professional for a more comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis, as warranted.
In addition, an elevated Substance Abuse Scale score is problematic as it is indicative of substance (alcohol or other drugs) abuse
problems overlapping mental/emotional problems and concerns. And, a Severe Problem Substance Abuse Scale score can make the client's
situation more complex. The substance abuse would likely take precedence over the Morale Scale score. One of the many problems with
substance dependency is its ubiquitous presence impacting on other symptomatology. These individuals
should be referred to a certified/licensed mental health professional for a diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis.
4. Self-Esteem Scale: Measures the client's explicit valuing and appraisal of
self. Self-Esteem incorporates an attitude of acceptance - approval versus rejection - disapproval. Self-Esteem typically refers to an
attitude of self-acceptance and self-approval.
Self-acceptance refers to recognition of personal abilities and achievements, together with acknowledgement and acceptance of
personal limitations. Lack of self-acceptance is generally considered a major characteristic of the emotionally disturbed. Self-respect
is similar to self-esteem. It reflects feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.
An elevated Self-Esteem Scale (70th to 89th percentile) score indicates a self-rejection-disapproving attitude.
The client has a poor or negative attitude toward self. A Severe Problem (90th to 100th percentile) Self-Esteem
Scale score reflects extreme self-alienation, psychic pain and in some cases, psychopathology.
An elevated Self-Esteem Scale and a concurrently elevated Morale Scale reflect the breadth of this person's depressive symptomatology.
As with all VI scales, the higher the score, the more problematic or severe the problems. A concurrently elevated Distress Scale score is
suggestive of suicidal ideation. Whereas, a concurrently elevated Resistance Scale score suggests more of an interpersonal, social
adjustment or externalized (as opposed to internalized) focus.
A concurrently elevated Substance (alcohol and other drugs) Abuse Scale score is a malignant sign. With an alcohol or drug abuse
problem overlaying impaired self-esteem, the question becomes "Where to begin?" Many clinicians stabilize the substance abuse
hoping that as the person comes to terms with the substance abuse their self-esteem will also improve. Other mental health practitioners
believe that self-esteem can be worked within counseling when the client at least accepts the realities of their substance abuse problems.
Both the Truthfulness Scale score and the Resistance Scale score provide some insight into the client's characterological armor.
And, a concurrently elevated Stress Coping Abilities Scale score is indicative of stress management problems (70th to
89th percentile) or identifiable emotional and mental health problems (90th to 100th percentile).
The Self-Esteem Scale score can be interpreted individually or in combination with other VI scale scores.
5. Resistance Scale: Measures client uncooperativeness, defensiveness or their
resistance to help. This scale score varies directly with the client's attitude. Some people resist help from others, whereas, others accept it.
In counseling or psychotherapy, a conscious or unconscious decision is sometimes made not to cooperate in some respects
with the counselor, therapist or other professionals. Conscious resistance is the withholding of information due to embarrassment or fear. Unconscious
resistance has been studied from several theoretical positions, e.g., in psychoanalysis unconscious resistance emerges in the ego's
struggle to maintain repression. The VI Resistance Scale measures client resistance. It
leaves the theoretical distinctions between conscious and unconscious resistance to others.
An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Resistance
Scale score identifies defensive non-compliant or oppositional attitudes and
behavior. These uncooperative people respond best to structure and
clarification of expectations and consequences. They can be faultfinding and
critical. A Severe Problem (90th to 100th percentile) Resistance
Scale score reflects extreme non-compliance, resistance and even defiance.
These clients are usually hostile, cooperate grudgingly and can be
antagonistic. They tend to be unfriendly, alienated and spiteful.
The Resistance Scale measures client defensiveness and uncooperativeness. They resist authority, help and being told what to do.
They tend to be contrarian and are very protective of personal information.
This resistance impacts relationships, particularly authoritarian relationships.
Resistance is a character trait. In other words, a persistent personality pattern characterized by uncooperative behavior with
immaturity and rebelliousness as components. This is a behavior pattern in which inappropriate non-compliance is dominant. Character
traits are enduring aspects of a person's personality. As such, the Resistance Scale is not greatly influenced by other VI scales.
However, one could expect an elevated Truthfulness Scale score in some resistant people's VI profile. These individuals may not like
being told to complete the VI. The Resistance Scale can be interpreted independently of other VI scales.
6. Substance Abuse Scale: Measures substance (alcohol and other drugs) use or
abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquors. Drugs refer to illicit drugs like marijuana,
crack, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD, hallucinogens and heroin.
This is a delicate area of inquiry because most mental health professionals become the victim's advocate. To even imply that the
victim has a substance abuse problem would be viewed by many as inappropriate. In contrast, other professionals would consider substance
abuse screening as appropriate in that they want to understand the victim's strengths and weaknesses. And, there is the possibility that the victim's
substance use may be problematic. The VI Substance Abuse Scale screens alcohol and drug use because such involvement may (or may not) help in
understanding the client's situation.
An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Substance Abuse Scale score indicates problematic substance (alcohol or drugs) use or
abuse. It identifies emerging substance abuse problems. Clients scoring in the problematic range should be asked about their substance (alcohol and/or
other drugs) using history, pattern of use and recent (within the last twelve months) substance use history.
A Substance Abuse Scale score in the Severe Problem (90th to 100th percentile) range indicates that the client has serious
problems or the client may be a "recovering" substance abuser. If the client states they are "recovering," establish how long they have been
recovering. An elevated Substance Abuse Scale score does not occur by chance. A score on the Substance Abuse Scale at or above the 70th
percentile requires a definite pattern of negative (or deviant) answers. And, the higher the score, the more definite the use or abuse pattern.
Substance abuse is an important area of inquiry for many reasons. One of the reasons is that substance abuse can exacerbate
psychological and behavioral symptomatology. Thus, an elevated Substance Abuse Scale score along with any other VI scale score elevation can mask, confuse
or magnify the client's profile or symptomatology. The effects of substance abuse are well known and include emotionality, impaired judgment and even
Several VI items are printed in the "Significant Items" section of the VI report and again in the "Multiple Choice" section of
the report for quick reference. Alcohol admission items include: #24 (I have a drinking problem), #60 (My drinking is more than a little or mild problem)
and #129 (How would you describe your drinking?). With regard to drug admission, items #35 (I have a drug problem) and #131 (How would you
describe your drug use) are noteworthy.
Recovering substance abusers would likely score on the Alcohol or Drug Scale items; whereas, polysubstance abusers would score on both.
This is an important area of inquiry. Item #133 asks if the client is a "recovering" alcoholic, drug abuser or both (alcoholic and drug abuser).
The Substance Abuse Scale screens alcohol and drug abuse. As noted earlier, substance abuse can exacerbate or magnify other VI scale
scores. It is an important area of inquiry that needs to be explored. Elevated Substance Abuse Scale (70th percentile or higher) scores
indicate that a problem exists, and history as well as pattern of substance abuse should be reviewed carefully in subsequent client interviews.
The Substance Abuse Scale score can be interpreted individually or in combination with other VI scale scores.
7. Suicide Ideation Scale:
Measures the client's probability of committing suicide. At one time or
another, almost everyone contemplates suicide. However, the suicidal act is
complex and multi-faceted. Consequently, debate regarding the causes of
suicide is left to the academicians, theologians and philosophers. Suffice
it to say that suicide has been among the ten leading causes of death in the
United States. And, the Victim Index's Suicide Ideation Scale is designed to
help identify suicidal individuals before they commit suicide.
When the Suicide Ideation Scale score is in the Problem
Risk (70th to 89th percentile) range, that client should be talked to
about their life situation. Such a discussion would inquire as to the
client's wellbeing while exploring suicide and suicide prevention.
When the Suicide Ideation Scale score is in the Severe
Problem (90th to 100th percentile) range, the client should be
considered suicidal. In these instances, referral to a certified/ licensed
mental health professional should be made for a more comprehensive
evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan.
An elevated Suicide Ideation Scale score and a
concurrently elevated Distress Scale, Morale Scale, Self-Esteem Scale,
Substance (alcohol and other drugs) Abuse Scale or Stress Coping Abilities
Scale would be a malignant sign. In these instances, the probability of
suicide is increased. Suicidal behavior is influenced by distress, morale,
self-esteem, substance abuse and stress coping abilities.
An elevated Suicide Ideation Scale score does not occur by chance. A definite pattern of suicidal thoughts is
necessary to attain an elevated scale score. Up to three-quarters of those
who take their lives have communicated their intent beforehand. The Suicide
Ideation Scale can be interpreted independently or in combination with other VI scales.
8. Stress Coping Abilities Scale:
Measures the client's ability to cope effectively with stress, tension and
pressure. It is now accepted that stress exacerbates symptoms of mental and
emotional problems. Thus, an elevated Stress Coping Abilities Scale score in
conjunction with other elevated VI scale scores can help in understanding
the client's situation. Such problem augmentation applies to substance
(alcohol and other drugs) abuse, attitudinal problems and even acting-out behavior.
When the Stress Coping Abilities Scale score is in the Problem Risk (70th to 89th percentile) range, that client would likely
benefit from completing a stress management program.
When the Stress Coping Abilities Scale score is in the Severe Problem (90th to 100th percentile) range, it is very likely
that the client has a diagnosable mental health problem. In these instances,
referral to a certified/licensed mental health professional should be
considered for a more comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan.
The Stress Coping Abilities Scale is a non-introversive way to screen emotional and mental health problems. Elevated scores also
provide considerable insight into how the client handles distress, poor morale, impaired self-esteem, substance abuse and perceived threat. The
Stress Coping Abilities Scale score can be interpreted independently or in combination with other VI scales.
* * * * *
In conclusion, it was noted that there are several "levels" of VI interpretation ranging from viewing the VI as a self-report
to interpreting scale elevations and interrelationships. Staff can then put VI test report findings within the context of the victim's life situation.
For more information on how the VI works, users are encouraged to read the "VI: Orientation and Training Manual." Each VI scale's
scoring methodology is explained, unique assessment features are discussed and more detailed information on the VI assessment system is presented. And,
if you have any questions, contact Behavior Data Systems so we can help.
The Victim Index (VI) is the product of over 25 years of licensed psychologist experience evaluating private practice patients,
victims of emotional and physical abuse and domestic violence perpetrators as well as victims.
From the beginning, the intent has been to develop a
practical, psychometrically sound and helpful screening instrument.
Practical in terms of time and coverage. Psychometrically sound in terms of
reliability, validity and accuracy. And, helpful in terms of the information
obtained. It's gratifying to know that other mental health professionals
agree that the Victim Index attains these goals. Our mission is now to
maintain the VI's state-of-the-art reputation.
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 a VI 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 multiple chioce questions (last sequence of items) are presented. Emphasis is placed on
having meaningful reports that are helpful and easily understood.
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