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The five-minute Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Short Screener (GAIN-SS) is primarily designed for three things. First, it serves as a screener in general populations to quickly and accurately identify clients who would be flagged as having one or more behavioral health disorders on the GAIN-I, suggesting the need for referral to some part of the behavioral health treatment system. It also rules out those who would not be identified as having behavioral health disorders. Second, it serves as an easy-to-use quality assurance tool across diverse field-assessment systems for staff with minimal training or direct supervision. Third, it serves as a periodic measure of change over time in behavioral health. It is designed for self- or staff-administration with paper and pen, on a computer, or on the web. It can be easily converted to a scannable form or incorporated into existing instrument batteries or systems.

The GAIN-SS has 23 scored items, divided into four subscreeners: Internalizing Disorder, Externalizing Disorder, Substance Disorder, and Crime/Violence. The following versions of the GAIN-SS are available:

Individual and Aggregate Reporting
The GAIN-SS cannot be used for diagnosis or level-of-care placement, but detailed reports of the participant's responses in narrative and table formats can be generated. The GAIN-SS Full and GAIN-SS Summary reports generate recommendations for subsequent referrals. The Aggregate report provides a summary of screeners to illustrate low, moderate or high problem severity across client records.   

Please click to download the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screener (GAIN-SS) Administration and Scoring Manual.

Dennis, Chan, and Funk (2006) found that for both adolescents and adults the 20-item Total Disorder Screener (TDScr) and its four, five-item subscreeners (Internalizing Disorders Screener, Externalizing Disorders Screener, Substance Disorders Screener, and Crime/Violence Screener) have good internal consistency (alpha of .96 on the TDScr), are highly correlated (r = .84 to .94) with the corresponding scales in the full GAIN-I, and have excellent sensitivity for identifying people with a disorder (90% or more) and for correctly ruling out people who did not (92% or more). Further analysis suggests that each of the subscreeners has good discriminant validity and that the total structure is consistent with the model used with GAIN-I. While the GAIN-SS is extremely reliable, it should be used to supplement (not replace) the judgment of clinical line staff, who may have urine test results, collateral reports, or other background information available to them. This is particularly important when screening in settings that involve jails, welfare investigations, or other situations where the fear of possible consequences or concerns about confidentiality may affect the validity of client responses. You can download the most recent version of the GAIN-SS Norms and Psychometric Tables.

Online training for the GAIN Short Screener is available, but not required. There is no certification process for the GAIN-SS, and reading the GAIN-SS Administration and Scoring Manual is often sufficient instruction. The manual is free to download for licensed GAIN users and can be accessed by logging into our secure site. If you would like more information about training, please contact our GAIN Project Coordination Team

GAIN-SS Online
Learn more about how the GAIN ABS Web Application or GAIN-SS Web can enhance your use of the GAIN-SS.


Please review our GAIN-SS Bibliography (Microsoft Word version, Adobe PDF version), a subset of our GAIN Complete Publications list.