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J Natl Med Assoc. Jun 2002; 94(6): 459–471.
PMCID: PMC2594395
Analysis of the Black Racial Identity Attitude scale in a substance-abusing population.
Alfred Harkley, Aiton McLellan, and Mary Randall
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.
Abstract
Racial attitude characteristics of African Americans may have important implications for patient-therapist matching in substance abuse treatment. The Black Racial Identity Attitude Scale (BRIAS) is a questionnaire used to measure racial identity attitudes. This study tested the stability and internal consistency of the BRIAS in an African-American substance-abusing population. This is the first known test of the BRIAS in a clinical population. African-American veterans (n = 53) were administered the BRIAS to test for stability over time and internal consistency. Initial analysis of the instrument revealed that a majority of items were not stable over time. Using the initial results, we removed 26 problematic items. Three modified scales remained, each having marginal test-retest reliability. Two of the modified scales had moderately adequate internal consistency, and the third was minimally adequate. We found that the BRIAS did not demonstrate sufficient internal consistency or stability in this population to adequately identify the constructs of the Nigrescence Racial Identity Development theory of William Cross, Jr. There is a growing recognition of the need to explore the extent of racial, ethnic, and cultural factors in substance abuse behavior and treatment; therefore, we recommend that further attention be directed toward developing an instrument to reliably and accurately measure identity constructs among African-American clinical subjects.
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