To the Editor: The article by Klinkenberg and associates (1) in the September 1998 issue, entitled "Reliability and Validity of the Interview and Self-Report Versions of the BASIS-32," was interesting and informative. However, based on the description of the methods reported, I would like to note that the interview version of the BASIS-32 that the researchers employed does not conform to the interview version employed by my colleagues and me (2).
Our use of the BASIS-32 as a structured interview involves reading the questions to respondents, then showing them a "response card" with the same 0 to 4 rating scale that is used in the self-report version of the instrument. As described by Eisen (2), the interviewer reads the response choices and asks the patient to provide his or her rating for each item. This method maintains the BASIS-32 as an instrument assessing the patient's perspective on his or her symptoms and problems.
The methods described by Klinkenberg and associates appear to involve a clinician's assessment of the patient's symptom and problem difficulty. Thus the authors appear to be using a clinician version of the BASIS-32, rather than an interview version of a self-report measure. The lower levels of reliability found for this interview version are not surprising, as the clinician's judgment introduces another source of variance into the ratings.
Dr. Eisen is assistant director of the department of mental health services research at McLean Hospital and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.