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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


GONZALEZ-SANTOS, Leopoldo; MERCADILLO, Roberto E.; GRAFF, Ariel  y  BARRIOS, Fernando A.. Versión computarizada para la aplicación del Listado de Síntomas 90 (SCL 90) y del Inventario de Temperamento y Carácter (ITC). Salud Ment [online]. 2007, vol.30, n.4, pp.31-40. ISSN 0185-3325.

Psychometric tests are effective to measure psychological characteristics, including personality, motivation, intellectual abilities and psychopathological traits. The Psychopathological diagnostic could be supported on some of these psychometric tests, which ideally should be of simple and fast application. Two of the most common tests are the Symptom Check List 90 (SCL 90) and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI).

SCL 90, developed by Derogatis, Lipman and Covi in 1973, is a 90-item self-report inventory that assesses the level of distress experienced by the subject. Items are comprised in nine dimensions: somatization, obsessive-compulsive, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation and psychoticism.

The SCL 90 has been translated into several languages and has been successfully applied in Argentina and Spain. In Mexico, Cruz-Fuentes et al. and Lara et al. considered that this test can be well used as a psychometric instrument in clinical research.

Due to its efficiency and brief time to response (12-15 min.), the SCL 90 has been administered to support psicopathological diagnostics and to complement the research of epilepsy, social-behavior disorders, physical disorders, pharmacological treatment and for the comparison of psychological features in crosscultural studies.

The TCI is a self-applied test that describes personality according to Clonninger's psychobiological model. In this model temperament is described as highly heritable and stable during lifetime, and it is divided in four dimensions: novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, and persistence. Character is described as being determined by the individual's experience and is modifiable during life-time. It is divided in to three dimensions self-directedness, cooperativeness and self-transcendence.

The TCI has been used to correlate personality features to genetics variability and to complement clinical studies that involves psychiatric disorder, such as, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. This test has been translated and administered in American, French, German, Korean and Spanish populations. In Mexico, Sánchez-Carmona, Páez, López and Nicolini considered that the TCI constitute a psychometric test that can be used to develop the clinical research in Mexican populations.

In recent years, research and clinical evaluation in several countries, such as United States and France, have successfully designed and applied computerized versions of the SCL 90 and TCI. These versions provide a quicker rate of testing and a permanent storage of data.

In this work, we analyze the validity of viability to apply a computerized version of the SCL 90 and the TCI in Spanish. This computerized version was previously developed at the Instituto de Neurobiología de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. This version involves a computer program in Java language, which give an easy access to the users and is compatible with any computational environment. The sequence to answer the computerized version involves five steps: a) accessing the main control program, b) writing the user's identification data, c) answering SCL 90 test, d) answering TCI test, e) forming the database.

The formats employed in these computerized versions are similar to those in paper-and-pencil original versions. Its rate sequences were formed according to the SCL 90 and the TCI's application manuals.

The information stored in the computerized program of SCL 90 and TCI, can be imported to the Excel program. By this way, it is possible to import the results to any database in any statistical analysis program.


Computerized versions of the SCL 90 and the TCI were administered in different sessions for two 30 participants sample (15 men, 15 women, mean= 30, S.D. 8 years old). Paper-and-pencil versions of both tests were administered, in two different sessions, to a sample within the same sex and age range. Samples were formed by students of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro.

Statistical analysis involved a Student's t test to identify differences between data obtained in computerized and paper-and-pencil versions. Graphic comparisons were made to show the similarity of the results obtained in computerized versions and those of reference samples published in Mexico by Cruz-Fuentes et al. (2005), Lara et al. (2005) and Sánchez de Carmona et al. (1996).


The average time invested in both computerized and paper-pencil version for SCL 90 was 15 min. and 25 min. for TCI.

No significant differences were founded in the items at any dimensions of the SCL 90 and TCI between the computerized and the paper-and-pencil versions.

Graphic distribution of data in SCL 90 and central tendencies measures in the TCI, were similar in both computerized and pa-per-and-pencils reference samples versions.


The average of time invested to response the computerized versions of both test was similar to that reported in paper-and-pencil versions: 15 min. for SCL 90 and 35 min. for TCI. So, then the time required to administer computerized versions is not higher than required in paper-and pencil versions.

The results sustain that the computerized administration of the SCL 90 and TCI in Spanish do not differs from the original paper-and-pencils Spanish versions in any of the test's dimensions. Besides, there are equivalent results in computerized versions and results showed in the reference samples. This allows us to consider that computerized versions of SCL 90 and TCI evaluate the features what were designed for.

Even the complete evaluation through SCL 90 and TCI requires a final individualized interpretation, the automatically rating trough computerized version, could decrease human mistakes during the account of answers and items. It allows the elaboration of permanent and extensive database that can be easily used to compare epidemiological and longitudinal behavioral research. Furthermore it could complement neurobiological studies, for example, to evaluate population in neuroimaging studies such functional magnetic resonance studies.

We conclude that computerized versions of the Symptom Check List 90 and Temperament and Character Inventory show a good validity to be useful as a psychometric tool.

Palabras llave : Computerized version; SCL 90; TCI.

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