Self-Audit (SA)

Test description

The Self-Audit (SA) is an evidence based self-report assessment instrument or test. The Self-Audit (SA) is designed for counseling and treatment program intake. The SA is also used in adult probation and community based counseling programs. The Self-Audit (SA) is an adult (male-female) test that has nine (9) scales (domains). The nine SAI scales (domains) are summarized as follows:

Nine Self-Audit Scales (Domains)

Why use the Self-Audit (SA)?

It is important to accurately assess client (patient/offender) problems when they exist. At one sitting of approximately 30 to 35 minutes, staff can acquire a vast amount of patient offender information that can help when formulating subsequent intervention of treatment decisions.

Advantages of Screening

Screening and assessment instruments or test, filter out individuals with problems that warrant intervention (classes or groups) or treatment (counseling or psychotherapy).

The filtering system works as follows:

Self-Audit Risk Ranges

Risk Category

Risk Range Percentile

Total Percentage

Low Risk

0 - 39%


Medium Risk

40 - 69%


Problem Risk

70 - 89%


Severe Problem

90 - 100%


Reference to the above table shows that a problem is not identified until a scale (domain) score is at the 70th percentile or higher. In other words, the 70th percentile is the problem threshold. These risk range percentiles are based upon BDS tests research, and experienced assessors feedback. These risk ranges are fair and avoid extremes, lies, over-identification and under-identification of problems. BDS’s test-related research is set forth in its website

Reliability, Validity and Accuracy

The Self-Audit (SA) database insures inclusion of most if not all, SA tests that are administered in a confidential (no names) manner. SA reliability, statistics are reported here.

Self-Audit (N=1,100)2002

SA Scales

Coefficient Alpha

Significance Level



P < .001



P < .001



P < .001



P < .001



P < .001



P < .001



P < .001



P < .001

Stress Management


P < .001

All Self-Audit (SA) scales (domains) have alpha coefficients above the professionally accepted of .75 and are highly reliable. Early studies used criterion measures and were validated with other tests, e.g., Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), 16 PF, Victim Index, Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, Treatment Intervention Inventory (TII), etc.

How Do You Assess Denial?

Sometimes, clients minimize, exaggerate or distort the truth. Sometimes, this is deliberate, but it can be 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 client is telling the truth. The SA 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 SA 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 Self-Audit (SA) Features

Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the respondent was while completing the SA. This scale identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. The SA 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: "SA: An Inventory of Scientific Findings."

Truth-Corrected Scores

Truth-Corrected scores have proven to be important in enhancing assessment accuracy. This proprietary truth correction procedure is comparable to the MMPI K-Scale correction methodology. The SA Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with the other eight SA 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.

More Than Just Another Alcohol or Drug Test

In addition to substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, the SA assesses other important areas of inquiry like distress, morale, self-esteem, resistance and stress coping abilities. The SA is designed specifically for adult client (patient/offender) assessment and screening.

Four Ways to Give the Self-Audit

The SA can be administered in four different ways: 1. Paper-pencil test booklet format. 2. The SA can be given directly on the computer screen. 3. BDS's internet platform ( More and more people are using this internet testing platform. And 4. The 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 "SA: 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.

Reading Impaired Assessment

Reading impaired clients represent as many as 20+ percent of the people tested with the SA. Behavior Data Systems' tests are written at a 5th to 6th grade reading level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read and understand the SA. Behavior Data Systems also offers a proprietary alternative for reading impaired assessment, which is called "human voice audio."

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. Human Voice Audio is provided free, or at no additional cost.


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 SA database for subsequent analysis. The "delete names" procedure insures client confidentiality. And the "delete names" procedure is automatic when testing online or over the internet.

Test Data Input Verification

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.

Inventory of Scientific Findings

Much of the SA research has been gathered together in one document titled "SA: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." This document summarizes SA research chronologically -- as the studies were completed. This innovative chronological reporting format was established largely because of the SA database, which permits annual database analysis of all tests administered that year. It also allows the reader to observe the evolution of the SA.

Orientation and Training manual

The “SA: Orientation and Training Manual” (O&T Manual) explains how the SA works. This manual is a must read for staff that will be using SA. O&T Manual content includes, but is not limited to, the following: testing instructions, an explanation of how scores are derived, a description of unique SA features and much more.

Computer Operating Guide

Some computer operators want more information than others. Consequently, BDS provides a One-Page Quick Start, which includes basic instructions for scoring, and a more comprehensive Computer Operating Guide. The Computer Operating Guide contains instruction for using MS-DOS as well as Windows software, scoring, printing reports, unique program features and much more.

Staff Training

BDS staff is available to participate in SA training programs scheduled by test users in the United States. Large departments, agencies or statewide programs often are interested in SA training. Sometimes, smaller agencies or departments get together for a joint SA training session. Behavior Data Systems gives attendees certificates attesting to their SA training.


How to order online (internet) tests at Upon arriving at‘s Home Page click on the “How To . . .” Navigational link on the left. Here you will find step by step instructions for each of these categories: How to Open a New Account, How to Login, How to Administer a Test, How to Score a Test and Print a Report, How to Verify Data Entry, How to Delete Client Names, How to Purchase Test Credits.