|Garos Sexual Behavior Inventory (GSBI)|
by Sheila Garos, Ph.D.
This empirically derived measure helps clinicians detect disorders of sexual frequency and control--what are commonly referred to as "deviant," "impulsive," "compulsive," or "addictive" sexual behaviors. Validated with sex offenders, the new Garos Sexual Behavior Inventory (GSBI) is especially useful in forensic settings, where it can identify inmates with potentially deviant sexual interests and inform decisions about intervention and treatment.
Yet the GSBI is sufficiently versatile that it can also be used in couples counseling to uncover differences in sexual values, feelings, and comfort levels--differences that may be causing conflict within a relationship. In addition, the inventory is helpful with clinical groups known to have difficulty with sexuality: individuals with drug or alcohol problems, victims of sexual abuse, and those diagnosed with eating disorders.
Masking scales reduce the potential for defensive responding
Composed of 70 items describing various sexual attitudes and behaviors, the GSBI includes both Main scales and Masking scales, as well as an Inconsistent Responding index:
- Discordance: Overall sexual adjustment; shame, fear, or internal conflict about sexual behavior and interests
- Sexual Obsession: Preoccupation with sex and sexual stimuli
- Permissiveness: Attitudes and values about sex--conservative or unconventional
- Sexual Stimulation: Level of comfort with sexual stimulation or arousal
Sexual Control Difficulties
Items on the Masking scales focus on relatively common sexual difficulties, while those on the Main scales ask about more atypical behaviors. The former serve to obscure the latter, making them less obvious to the test taker and thereby reducing the potential for defensive responding. However, the Masking scales do have value in their own right. The information they provide is useful in couples therapy, personal development counseling, and other non-forensic applications.
A carefully designed test form protects privacy
Appropriate for adults 18 years of age and older, the GSBI can be completed in just 20 to 30 minutes. Items, written at a sixth-grade reading level, are easy to understand and answer. Clients simply indicate the extent of their agreement on a 5-point response scale. A specially designed AutoScore Form (titled Sexual Attitudes Inventory) protects the privacy of respondents. Test items do not appear on the AutoScore Form. Instead, they are printed on a separate reusable Administration Card, thereby ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential.
The test generates normalized T-scores for the Main and Masking scales, making it easy to compare scores across scales and across tests. Normative data are based on a nonclinical group, spanning ages 17 to 104, with roughly equal numbers of males and females. In addition, the test manual provides average scores for clinical and correctional subgroups--sex offenders, substance abusers, and sexual addicts.
Used with sex offenders or in couples therapy, the GSBI informs treatment decisions
In validation studies, the GSBI successfully differentiated incarcerated sex offenders from incarcerated non-sex offenders, indicating that it can reliably identify individuals who may engage in sexually deviant or offending behavior. The constructs measured by the GSBI are particularly relevant to disorders of sexual frequency and control.
Versatile and easy to administer, the GSBI measures sexual adjustment and behavior in people with varying degrees of psychopathology. It has proven useful to forensic specialists, mental health professionals, and marriage and family therapists. Whether the test is used with sex offenders or sexually incompatible couples, GSBI scores help clinicians select appropriate treatment.