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SBI - Social Behavior Inventory

The SBI is a 30-item checklist that can be completed by a parent or therapist to assess the interpersonal behavior of children aged 3-17 who have experienced abuse or witnessed domestic violence. The author suggests the measure can also be used prudently with other populations.

The inventory yields a total Social Competence Score as well as scores for 5 scales derived through factor analysis: 1) Aversive-Miscommunication, 2) Aversive-Insensitive, 3) Aversive-Argumentative, 4) Prosocial-Genuine, and 5) Prosocial-Direct.

Four Violence Risk Classification scores can also be calculated: 1) Aggression, 2) Anger, 3) Past Violence, and 4) Future Violence.




Gully, Kevin, JU., Ph.D.

Gully, K.J. (2003). Social Behavior Inventory: Professional Manual. Salt Lake City, UT: PEAK Ascent, L.L.C.

Cost Involved
Domain Assessed: 
Externalizing Symptoms
Age Range: 
Measure Type: 
General Assessment
Measure Format: 


Number of Items: 
Average Time to Complete (min): 
Reporter Type: 
Average Time to Score (min): 
Response Format: 

3-point rating scale: 0=Not or rarely true, 1=Somewhat or sometimes true, 2=Very or often true

Materials Needed: 
Sample Items: 
DomainsScaleSample Items
Social CompetanceAversive-
MiscommunicationParanoid: Thinks other people are trying to cause
distress or harm.
Aversive-InsensitiveRaises voice when angry: Increases volume when
ArgumentativeDisagrees: Opposes or challenges what the speaker
has said.
Prosocial-GenuineStates positive feelings: expresses liking, approval and
Prosocial-DirectEye contact: Looks at the speaker without staring or
avoiding contact.
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Continuous Assessment
Graphs (e.g. of elevated scale)
Raw Scores
Standard Scores


Training to Administer: 
Training to Interpret: 
Prior Experience in Psych Testing/Interpretation

Parallel or Alternate Forms

Parallel Forms: 
Alternate Forms: 
Different Age Forms: 
Altered Version Forms: 


Notes on Psychometric Norms: 

Ethnically diverse and gender-balanced sample of 318 children aged 2-17 were rated by their parents. This population had no prior mental illness and
no reported history of physical and/or sexual abuse. Sample: 594 children beginning treatment for child abuse were rated by therapists to obtain Total Competence Scale therapist-rated norms.

Clinical Cutoffs: 
Clinical Cutoffs Description: 

When score is below 7% or above 93%, it indicates clinical significance for a specific scale. Borderline scores are in the range from the 84% to the 92% or 8% to 16%, depending on the scale.

Test-RetestAcceptableIntraclass correlation coefficient0.750.840.81
Internal ConsistencyAcceptableCronbach's Alpha0.720.860.78
Inter-raterQuestionnableIntraclass correlation coefficient0.270.790.54
References for Reliability: 

Gully (2001) TEST RETEST RELIABILITY Included 27 parents from the normative sample tested over a 1-week period. Aversive-Miscommunication (.84) Aversive-Insensitive (.77) Aversive-Argumentative (.84) Prosocial-Genuine (.75) Prosocial-Direct (.79) Total Social Competence (.84) INTERNAL CONSISTENCY Parent Report Aversive-Miscommunication (.84) Aversive-Insensitive (.78) Aversive-Argumentative (.72) Prosocial-Genuine (.80) Prosocial-Direct (.73) Total Social Competence (.86) INTER-RATER RELIABILITY The inter-rater reliability reported in the table is for pairs of parents. For 25 pairs of parents intraclass correlations were: Aversive-Miscommunication (.60) Aversive-Insensitive (.63) Aversive-Argumentative (.79) Prosocial-Genuine (.27) Prosocial-Direct (.36) Total Social Competence (.58) For 251 parent-therapist pairs at intake intraclass, correlations were: Aversive-Miscommunication (.30) Aversive-Insensitive (.31) Aversive-Argumentative (.07) Prosocial-Genuine (.08) Prosocial-Direct (.29) Total Social Competence (.37)

Content Validity Evaluated: 
References for Content Validity: 

From Gully (2001)
The SIB is based in social learning theory and was initially based on the Marital Interaction Coding System (MICS; Weiss, Hops, & Patterson, 1973). Items were related to behavioral categories from the MICS. The original SBI consisted of 32 social behaviors adapted from studies using the MICS and MICS categories. Through pilot study and examination of the understandability and validity of the items, this version was revised and the 30-item version of the SIB was developed

Construct Validity Evaluated: 
Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to ChangeYes
Intervention EffectsYes
Longitudinal/Maturation EffectsYes
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct GroupsYesYes
Factorial ValidityYes
References for Construct Validity: 

Gully (2001)
Scales were developed using factor analysis. A principal components analysis of data from the treatment sample with a varimax rotation identified 5 factors using eigen values and factor interpretability as criteria: 1) Aversive-Miscommunication; 2) Prosocial-Genuine; 3) Aversive-Insensitive; 4) Prosocial-Direct, and 5) Aversive-Argumentative.

A history of physical abuse and exposure to domestic violence was associated with greater aversive and less prosocial interpersonal behavior. A history of sexual abuse was associated with less prosocial behavior. SIB scores were also related to children’s history of being physically or sexually
assaultive, CBCL scores, CSBI scores, and scores on the Nowicki-Strickland locus of control scale. Scores on all SIB scales differentiated the normal from the treatment sample.

Data from 76 of the original 420 treatment parents were used to examine whether the SIB is sensitive to treatment effects. All scales showed significant decreases over, on average, a 9-month treatment period. Change on the SIB was related to change on the CBCL Total Problems Score.

Criterion Validity Evaluated: 
Criterion Validity: 
Not KnownNot FoundNonclinical SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Predictive Validity:yes
Postdictive Validity: Yes
References for Criterion Validity: 

Sensitivity and Specificity rates are provided for 4 Violence Risk classification scores:
1. Aggression Index (Sensitivity = 96-100%, Specificity = 100%)
2. Anger Index (Sensitivity = 86%, Specificity = 89%)
3. Past Violence Index (Sensitivity = 50-52%, Specificity = 96-96%)
4. Future Violence (Sensitivity = 0-63%, Specificity = 95-100%)

Overall Psychometric Limitations: 

1. The measure is psychometrically immature but promising.
2. The development of the SBI was based on using non-comparable methods with 2 groups.
3. Non-blind sample of convenience was used for both developmental groups and normative group.
4. Test-retest reliability was completed only on the control group. There was no test-retest reliability performed on the clinical group.
5. Inter-rater reliability was completed at both intake and termination of the clinical group only; this was not completed for the control group. Inter-rater reliability was not completed on therapist to therapist. Inter-rater reliability for parent-therapist is poor. It is questionable for parent-parent for many scales.
6. The measure was reported to be able to determine improvement during the course of treatment. However, this was tested only with the clinical group without a control group. In addition, data from only 76 parents of the original 420 were used to examine the measure’s ability to detect change due to treatment.
7. The norms for the five categories are used only for Parent Report, not Therapist Report. Norms for Therapist Report allows only for a Total Social Competence Score; it may be helpful for the therapist to establish norms for Therapist Report.



Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

Gully, 2001: Two groups of children were involved in the development of the SBI. The normal group (control) consisted of 138 children with no history of mental illness or physical and sexual abuse, mean age of 8.5, 51% female and 49% male. The ethnic composition was 50% White, 36% Hispanic, and 14% Other Ethnicity.

The second group consisted of 420 children, mean age of 8.9, 59% female and 41% male, who had received psychological services for child abuse (clinical). The ethnic composition of this group was 85% White, 11% Hispanic, and 4% Other Ethnicity. In the clinical group the SBI was completed both at intake and at termination of therapeutic services.

Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Use with Diverse Populations: 
Population Type: Measure Used with Members of this GroupMembers of this Group Studied in Peer-Reviewed JournalsReliableGood PsychometricsNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for this Group
1. IranianYes
2. BrazilianYes

Pros & Cons/References


1. The SBI is a simple, easy-to-use questionnaire that can be completed in a few minutes.

2. The SBI is a specific measure of social competence of a child, and correlated with specific scales on the CBCL and the CBSI.

3. Given that trauma affects the interpersonal behavior of individuals, the SBI taps a theoretically important domain.


1. The reliability and validity of this measure may be questionable (see "Limitations of Psychometrics and Other Comments Regarding Psychometrics" section). More psychometric studies are needed.

2. It is a relatively new measure, which is still in its infancy, and it is currently not widely used.

3. Although the author suggests that the measure can be used with young children 3-17, a review of the items suggests that many are not developmentally appropriate for young children, and items do not tap aspects of social behavior that may be seen more in young children. In addition, examining the age of the development sample (mean age 8.9, SD=3.9), very few young children aged 3-5 were most likely included in the development of the measure. The same is true of the normative sample.

4. The price of the measure is relatively high, given that it is not well established.

Author Comments: 

1. The SBI is a straightforward instrument with significant potential value for clinicians and researchers wanting to measure the coercive and prosocial behavior of children. It is a practical and efficient tool that should be considered for inclusion in standard clinical assessment and program-evaluation protocols.

2. Internal consistency is established further by positive correlations within the set of Aversive scales and set of Prosocial scales, and negative correlations between the Miscommunication and Insensitive with the Prosocial scales.

3. Content Validity: Based on social learning theory and adapted from prior instruments and research, measuring interpersonal behavior and social competence published in journals.

4. Significant correlations were noted for the Normative sample between different scales with age, gender, and ethnicity. One option would have been to develop different Normative profiles. However, data provided in the manual revealed that age, gender, and ethnicity did not have a meaningful effect on the interpretation of the SBI.

5. The measure showed significant improvement during the course of treatment and was significantly different at intake from the control group. Simultaneous change in a control group was not measured. However, consistent changes were found for the clinical sample with the Child Behavior Checklist and Child Sexual Behavior Inventory.

Additionally, independent global ratings by parents about improvement during treatment matched change scores on the SBI provided by therapists and vice versa; independent global ratings by therapists about improvement matched change scores provided by parents on the SBI.


A PsychInfo literature search (6/05) for “Social Behavior Inventory” or “SBI” or “Gully” anywhere revealed that the measure has been referenced in 1 peer-reviewed journal article. The term Gully was added because "Social Behavior Inventory" identified other measures.

The reference for the manual is:
Gully, K.J. (2003). Social Behavior Inventory: Professional Manual. Salt Lake City, UT: PEAK Ascent, L.L.C.
1. Gully, K.J. (2001). The social behavior inventory in a child abuse treatment program: Development of a tool to measure interpersonal behavior. Child Maltreatment, 6, 260-270.

Other Related References
1. Weiss, R. L., Hops, H., & Patterson, G. R. (1973). A framework for conceptualizing marital conflict: A technology for altering it, some data for evaluating it. In L. A. Hammerlynck, L. C. Handy, & E. J. Mash (Eds.), Behavior change: Methodology, concepts and practice. Champaign, III.: Research Press.

Developer of Review: 
Connie Wong, MA
Editor of Review: 
Robyn Igelman, M.A., Nicole Taylor, Ph.D., Madhur Kulkarni, M.S., Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Ph.D.
Last Updated: 
Friday, February 14, 2014