Structure and Correlates of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) in Offenders: Implications for Psychopathy and Externalizing Pathology

Based on a large sample of offenders (male, n = 1,316; female, n = 267), we (a) tested the relative fit of alternative factor models for the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11), and (b) assessed the pattern of relationships among BIS-11 scales and theoretically relevant measures of psychopathy and externalizing pathology. Of four alternative factor models, none yielded satisfactory fit to these data in confirmatory factor analyses. Although the BIS-11 subscales generated from models were, as predicted, associated primarily with the socially deviant features of psychopathy, these subscales exhibited a pattern of associations with externalizing
pathology that was generally inconsistent with expectations. These results call into question the validity of previously reported BIS-11 factor models. The findings are discussed within the context of the externalizing spectrum of pathology and the construct validation of impulsivity measures.