Validation of the Insomnia Severity Index in primary care.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Am Board Fam Med, Volume 26, Issue 6, p.701-10 (2013)


Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Primary Health Care, Psychometrics, Quality of Life, Quebec, Retrospective Studies, ROC Curve, Severity of Illness Index, Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders, Surveys and Questionnaires


<p><b>BACKGROUND: </b>Although insomnia is a prevalent complaint with significant consequences on quality of life, health, and health care utilization, it often remains undiagnosed and untreated in primary care settings. Brief, reliable, and valid instruments are needed to facilitate screening for insomnia in general practice. This study examined psychometric indices of the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) to identify individuals with clinically significant insomnia in primary care settings.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>A sample of 410 patients recruited from 6 general medical clinics completed the ISI before their appointment with a primary care physician. A subsample of 101 individuals also completed a semistructured clinical interview by telephone to determine the presence or absence of an insomnia disorder. Reliability and validity indices were computed, as was the discriminative capacity of each individual item. Convergence between ISI total score and the diagnosis derived from the interview was investigated. Receiver operator characteristic analyses were used to determine the optimal ISI cutoff score that correctly identified individuals with an insomnia disorder.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>ISI internal consistency was excellent (Cronbach α = 0.92), and each individual item showed adequate discriminative capacity (r = 0.65-0.84). The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve was 0.87 and suggested that a cutoff score of 14 was optimal (82.4% sensitivity, 82.1% specificity, and 82.2% agreement) for detecting clinical insomnia. Agreement between the ISI cut score and the diagnostic interview was moderate (κ = 0.62).</p><p><b>CONCLUSIONS: </b>These findings suggest that the ISI is a valid screening instrument for detecting insomnia among patients consulting in primary care settings.</p>

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