Research Project 4: Validation of the Brain Injury Screening Questionnaire (BISQ)
The aim of this study is to assess the validity of the Brain Injury Screening Questionnaire (BISQ) as a screening measure for brain injury. Evidence suggests that the number of individuals with unidentified TBI is very high. Since TBI is associated with a variety of cognitive, emotional, physical and social problems, remaining unidentified means that the person does not receive services or information that may ameliorate the difficulties they face. As a result, lack of identification often results in needless educational, social and vocational failure. Thus, screening for brain injury in at-risk populations has the potential to mitigate the effects of unidentified TBI. An easily administered tool to identify TBI in at-risk populations is, therefore, needed.
The Brain Injury Screening Questionnaire (BISQ) is the only instrument of which we are aware that is designed to screen for unidentified brain injuries and related symptoms. Our research has shown that the BISQ includes 25 symptoms that are sensitive and specific to TBI, when compared to individuals with other disabilities (HIV, spinal cord injury, liver transplant) or no disability. The majority (23 of 25) of these symptoms are cognitive.
While the BISQ contains empirically validated, sensitive and specific items, a comprehensive validation study has not been conducted on the BISQ in its current form. Furthermore, it is necessary to assess the validity of the BISQ in differentiating individuals with TBI from persons with other disabilities where cognitive symptoms are frequently reported, such as chronic pain and depression. Therefore, in the current study, the BISQ will be administered to five groups:
- Individuals with mild TBI
- Individuals with moderate/severe TBI
- Individuals with chronic depression
- Individuals with chronic pain
- Individuals with no disability
BISQ symptom reports from these groups will be analyzed to identify BISQ items that are sensitive and specific to individuals with brain injury, identify the symptoms that best differentiate individuals with TBI from those without TBI and determine which of the previously identified sensitive and specific symptoms are still found to be sensitive and specific with new comparison groups. Finally, cognitive symptom report (obtained in the BISQ) will be validated against objective neuropsychological data.