BIS-11A -Hindi version: A preliminary study of impulsivity in rural and urban Indian adolescents : Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo


BIS-11A -Hindi version

A preliminary study of impulsivity in rural and urban Indian adolescents

Singh, Paramjeet; Solanki, R. K.; Bhatnagar, P. S.

Author Information
Indian Journal of Psychiatry 50(2):p 96-99, Apr–Jun 2008. | DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.42395
  • Open



There is no behavioral instrument in India to gauge the impulsivity in adolescents and no earlier studies have been done in India to access impulsivity in adolescents. Even in western countries, no study has been done in rural setting to access impulsivity, although segment of rural population is small in western nations with major population residing in urban areas.

There are a number of instances in day-to-day life when happenings due to impulsivity come to notice such as persons committing suicide after examination results or jumping in front of a running train to die. Impulsivity and sensation seeking are involved in a wide spectrum of psychopathologic and social challenges which are a part of impulse control disorders. The significance of managing impulsivity can be gauged from the answers given by inmates who committed acts of aggression in prison despite of knowing that outcomes will not be desirable as they will be moved to less desirable living conditions and are less likely to be considered for parole. The inmates answered that we can't help it, we just do it.[1]

Barratt[2] has illustrated impulsivity with four different and basic categories of concepts that are used to describe people: biologic, cognitive, environmental, and behavioral. As impulsiveness has a biologic basis, BIS-11 was chosen as it is a questionnaire which has a biologic basis.[3] Besides it has also been revised extensively.[4] Earlier Italian,[5] Japanese,[6] and French[7] version have been developed on the basis of BIS-11 English version.

India is a vast country with all kinds of diversity, geographic, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic. Hindi is spoken by a majority of people particularly in the northern India and is the national language as per the Indian constitution. Although, one gets to see cases involving impulsivity in both clinical settings as well as in day-to-day life, e.g., newspapers and television, there is no behavioral instrument that can reliably measure impulsiveness among Indian people. India's vast population has a large adolescent segment (unlike many western countries where the population of older people is in majority); therefore, in the present study it was decided to derive a culturally sensitive version based on the BIS-11 for Indian adolescents. As India has 70% people living in rural areas, it was considered worthwhile to apply the same on rural adolescents besides urban as urban areas are fast growing due to migration of people from rural to urban areas so that a comparative view of impulsivity in rural and urban adolescents can be obtained.


BIS-11 English version was translated into Hindi and a back translation was made. As BIS-11 was developed for adults, answering some of the questions poses challenges for adolescents,[5] so to be used with adolescents, questions that do not fit into adolescent age group were substituted keeping in view activities of adolescents. Besides, questions that were not suitable as per the Indian culture were modified. Initially, these changes were made hypothetically by discussion among the authors and later a group of 48 school students were interviewed about the questions. Based on the interviews of students, a final version was prepared. Translation, back translation, cultural substitution - hypothetically and in school by discussion were carried out. The questionnaire was given to 120 urban high school students (in Jaipur, northern India) and 50 rural students (at Kanota, 25 km from Jaipur, northern India) and the scores were calculated as per the scoring method provided with original BIS-11. Zar was consulted for statistical purpose.[8]


BIS-11 was given to 125 urban adolescents and 50 rural adolescents. Their calculated values are shown in Table 1.

Table 1:
Average impulsivity scores of boys and girls of rural areas along with standard deviation (SD)

The values of cognitive, nonplanning, and motor scales along with total impulsivity scores have been shown in Tables 1-4. T-test (two-tailed, two sample unequal variance, i.e., type 3) found no significant difference between impulsivity scores of adolescents of urban and rural areas t 0.05(2)1 = 0.57, |t| < t0.05(2)1, P > 0.05, P = 12.706, thus with null hypothesis of no difference between the two samples was accepted.

Table 2:
Average impulsivity scores of boys and girls of urban areas along with standard deviation (SD)
Table 3:
Averages in impulsivity scores of adolescents of rural and urban areas
Table 4:
Standard deviation in impulsivity scores of adolescents of rural and urban areas

For gender differences, t-test scores between rural boys and girls was insignificant t 0.05(2), 1 = 0.94, |t| < t0.05(2)1, P > 0.05, P = 12.706), resulting in acceptance of null hypothesis. Likewise, between urban boys and girls no significant difference was found. t 0.05(2),1 = 0.02, |t| < t0.05(2)1, P > 0.05, P = 12.706.


Impulsiveness and irritability (anger) are both potential criteria for an antisocial personality disorder.[9] Impulsiveness and verbal skills are inversely related[10] from society for biologic psychiatry - 1997 and positively related to poor judgments of time duration[10] and is also related to morningness.[11]

Impulsivity is involved in a number of important and widely spread psychiatric disorders. It is one of the main dimensions of suicidality and all the three dimensions of impulsivity (behavioral loss of control, nonplanning, and cognitive) are involved in severely depressed patients.[12] High levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking are also associated with substance in schizophrenia patients.[13] Impulsivity is also prominent characteristic of bipolar disorder and severe suicidal behavior is associated with increased impulsivity.[14] Both impulsivity and emotional distress are related to risk taking in gamblers. Besides younger age and impulsivity are known as risk factors for illegal activities.[15]

In the present study , t-test did not show any significant difference between rural and urban adolescents, therefore, the present translation can be used both with rural and urban adolescents. One of the important factors for this could be that the influence of literacy and TV is growing in rural areas. Due to this, in urban as well as rural areas, gender differences are reducing, girls are acquiring education at par with boys and also their role in other spheres of day-to-day life is increasing in socioeconomic spectrum, these accounts for no significant gender difference in impulsivity scores in urban boys and girls.

In developing Hindi adolescent version, 11 questions needed change. These reflected differences in Indian cultural and socioeconomic lifestyle as compared to US and Italian scenario. In comparison to Italian version 7 questions (Nos. 10, 11, 13, 20, 24, 25, and 29) were different, 7 and 16 differed slightly (i.e., were similar) and 26 and 28 were same [Table 5]. Fossati et al.[5] required to reword 15 of the 30 BIS–11 items, with minor modifications being made to 11 of the 15 problematic items. Similarity, between Hindi and Italian versions is arising out of the fact that both the versions were for adolescents and were being derived from adult version of translated BIS–11. Dissimilarities between Italian and Hindi version were due to different socioeconomic and cultural settings in India as compared to Italy. Like Italian version, BIS–11 (Hindi) version also maintains a 30-item, Likert type self-report format. All items were measured on a four-point ordinal scale (1 = Rarely/never, 2 = occasionally, 3 = often, 4 = almost always/always) Four usually shows most impulsive response. The items were summed and impulsiveness was directly proportional to impulsivity score. Back translation was made to ensure that the questionnaire is adequate with respect to original versions, i.e., same as in Italian version.[5]

Table 5:
Comparison of BIS-11 with Italian and Hindi versions

Male adolescents showed significantly higher mean BIS–11 score than that of female adolescents in Italian version,[5] which is unlike the Hindi version in the present study. This may be due to larger sample size in case of Italian study (563 adolescents; out of which 209, i.e., 37.1% male while 354 subjects, i.e., 62.9% female), as in case of urban adolescents (Total 120 adolescents; n = 72 for boys, i.e., 60% and 48, i.e., 40% for girls) and for rural subjects (50 adolescents, 25 boys, and 25 girls; 50% each).


1. Barratt ES, Stanford MS, Kent TA, Felthous A. Neuropsychological and cognitive psychophysiological substrates of impulsive aggression Biol Psychiatry. 1997;41:1045–61
2. Barratt ESMcCowan W, Shure M. Impulsivity: Integrating cognitive, behavioral, biological and environmental data The impulsive client: Theory, research and treatment. 1993 Washington DC American Psychological Association
3. Barratt ES. The biological basis of impulsiveness: The significance of timing and rhythm disorders Pers Individ Dif. 1983;4:387–91
4. Fossati A, Barratt ES, Acquarini E, Ceglie , AD . Psychometric properties of an adolescent version of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11-A) in a sample of Italian High school students Percept Mot Skill. 2002;95:621–35
5. Patten JH, Stanford MS, Barratt ES. Factor structure of Barratt impulsiveness scale J Clin Psychol. 1995;51:768–74
6. Someya T, Sakado K, Seki T, Kojima M, Reist C, Tang SW, et al The Japanese version of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, 11th version (BIS-11): Its reliability and validity Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2001;55:111–14
7. Bayle FJ, Bourdel MC, Caci H, Gorwood P, Chignon JM, Ades J, Loo H. Factor analysis of French translation of the Barratt impulsivity scale (BIS-10) Can J Psychiatry. 2000;45:156–65
8. Zar JH Biostatistical analysis. 19994th ed Pearson education. India branch, Delhi Singapore Pvt. Ltd
9. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 20044th ed Washington DC American Psychiatric Press
10. Barratt ES, Stanford , MS Costello CG. Impulsiveness Personality characteristics of the personality disordered. 1995 New York John Wiley and Sons, Inc
11. Caci H, Martiei V, Bayle FJ, Nadalet L, Dossios C, Robert P, et al Impulsivity but not venturesomeness is related to morningness Psychiatry Res. 2005;134:259–65
12. Corruble E, Benyamiona A, Bayle F, Falissard B, Hardy P. Understanding impulsivity in severe depression? A psychometrical contribution Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2003;27:829–33
13. Dervaux A, Bayle FJ, Laqueille X, Bourdel MC, Le Borgne MH, Olie JP, et al Is substance abuse in schizophrenia related to impulsivity, sensation seeking, or anhedonia? Am J Psychiatry. 2001;58:492–4
14. Swann AC, Dougherty DM, Pazzaglia PJ, Pham M, Steinberg JL, Moeller FG. Increased impulsivity associated with severity of suicide attempt history in patients with bipolar disorder Am J Psychiatry. 2005;162:1680–7
15. Martins SS, Tavares H, Da Silva Lobo DS, Galetti AM, Gentil V. Pathological gambling, gender and risk-taking behaviors Addict Behav. 2004;29:1231–5

Source of Support: Nil

Conflict of Interest: None declared


Adolescent; BIS-11 A; Hindi; rural; urban

© 2008 Indian Journal of Psychiatry | Published by Wolters Kluwer – Medknow