INTRODUCTION: Patients with acquired brain injury affecting the frontal cortex and individuals with substance use disorders share a range of behavioral problems, including apathy, poor self-control, and executive dysfunction. The Frontal Systems Behavioral Scale (FrSBe) is a self-report instrument designed to measure behavioral problems resulting from damage to the frontal–striatal neural systems, involved both in brain insult and addiction. The aim of this study was twofold: (1) to compare the scores from the Spanish version of the FrSBe with the norms collected for American, English-speaking population; and (2) to examine the ability of the FrSBe to discriminate between two clinical populations (acquired brain injury (ABI) and addiction) with putative frontal dysfunction, as compared to a group of healthy participants. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 139 volunteers participated including 46 patients with frontal ABI (F-ABI), 57 abstinent substance abusers, and 36 healthy controls from the Spanish population. A Spanish version of the FrSBe was administered to all participants. We conducted multivariate analyses of variance to examine group differences across the three subscales: apathy, disinhibition, and executive dysfunction; and in the FrSBe total score. RESULTS: F-ABI and substance abusers had higher scores (i.e., greater impairment) than controls on the FrSBe total score; F-ABI patients scored significantly higher than substance abusers, and substance abusers significantly higher than controls. For specific subscales, F-ABI patients had higher scores than substance abusers and controls in the subscales of apathy, disinhibition and executive dysfunction, whereas substance abusers had greater executive dysfunction than controls. CONCLUSIONS: The Spanish version of the FrSBe is a useful instrument for the detection of behavioral problems associated with frontal systems dysfunction in two clinical samples of Spanish-speakers.

Author notes

The Spanish version of the FrSBe was adapted and reproduced by special permission of the publisher, Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc., 16204 North Florida Avenue, Lutz, Florida 33549. The Frontal Systems Behavior Scale was authored by Janet Grace and Paul F. Malloy and copyrighted in 1992, 2000, and 2001 by PAR, Inc. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission from PAR, Inc.