Behavioral Competence Inventory

Construct: Adult general behavioral functioning

Description of Measure: The Behavioral Competence Inventory (BCI) was developed as a tool to be completed by family members or primary caregivers of older patients who are undergoing initial evaluations for diagnosing or ruling out dementia. It is not intended to be filled out by the patients themselves, many of whom may be unaware of or defensive about their cognitive impairments.

BCIThe BCI consists of 110 items, and measures seven different domains of functioning, including self care, instrumental activities of daily living, memory, social interaction, compensates for incapacities, behavioral excesses and behavioral deficits. Respondents consider patient behaviors that have occurred during the past month and are asked to choose from four responses including, “Yes,” “No,” “Don’t know” and “Not applicable.”

The instrument was normed on 149 family members and other informants who accompanied patients to Hartman-Stein’s office for neuropsychological assessments between 1991 and 1994. Because the BCI was designed to help determine whether patient needs more care, caregivers whose loved ones who were already living in nursing homes were not considered as members of the target population and were not included in the sample. Of the 149 participants, 28 percent were men and 72 percent were women. Their ages ranged from 56 to 97. Their educational levels ranged from no formal education to the doctoral level, with a mean of 11.6 years of schooling and a standard deviation of 0.3.

Internal consistency measures for the BCI ranged from .70 to .91 for scores on the seven scales.

The findings support the BCI’s structure of seven scales to measure seven predefined domains of functioning in the target population of older adults in need of assessment.


Hartman-Stein, P.E., & Reuter, J.M. (1996). The Behavioral Competence Inventory, Second edition. Kent, OH: Center for Healthy Aging. Source contact: Center for Healthy Aging and for purchase online.

Jarjoura, D., Hartman-Stein, P., Speight, J., & Reuter, J. (1999). Reliability and construct validity of scores on the behavioral competence inventory: a measure of adaptive functioning. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 59, 855-865.