Pre-Post Inventory

The Pre-Post Inventory is a test that is administered to a client, more than once. It is, typically, given the first time (pre-test), upon client admission into a treatment, counseling, or intervention program, and before treatment has occurred. Then, after treatment is completed, the Pre-Post Inventory is administered to the same client, again. This second testing is called the post-test (2nd test), which generates the "Comparison Report." The Pre-Post Inventory contains eight (8) scales (measures): Truthfulness, Depression, Self-Esteem, Anxiety, Distress, Alcohol, Drug, and Stress Management. It consists of 161 items and takes 30 minutes to complete.

Historically, when a person completed a prescribed counseling or treatment program, they were assumed to be cured, rehabilitated, or made well. Today, these assumptions are being challenged. Some people, for whatever reason, do not benefit or improve from intervention, counseling, or treatment (hereinafter referred to as treatment).

Distinguishing between people who benefit from treatment and those that do not, is a challenging task. Earlier approaches found that treatment staff opinions can be subjective and diverse (Broome, Flynn, Knight & Simpson, 2007). And, any objective approach, to identifying positive or negative treatment effects, is subject to theoretical, methodological, and meaningfulness opinions and viewpoints. To acknowledge, assuage, and answer many of these questions, the Pre-Post Inventory rationale is summarized.

Pre-test/post-test baseline methodology is the foundation, upon which, the Pre-Post Inventory is based. The Pre-Post Inventory is administered, prior to, or upon treatment program intake. This test administration is called the pre-test or pre-treatment test. Then, the same test is administered, again, upon treatment completion, and this is called the post-test. The pre-test serves as the baseline, or test, against which, the post-test is compared. The same test is administered twice.

Many mental health professionals, treatment staff, program administrators, and others accept baseline theory and methodology, whereas others may not. If you don't accept baseline methodology, you should not use the Pre-Post Inventory.

The composition of the Pre-Post Inventory scales (measures) is important, because they are the Pre-Post Inventory's outcome measures. The eight areas of inquiry represented, by the eight Pre-Post Inventory scales, are the areas of inquiry that measure treatment outcome, or change. The eight Pre-Post Inventory scales (measures) are:

  1. Truthfulness Scale 5. Self-Esteem Scale
  2. Anxiety Scale 6. Alcohol Scale
  3. Depression Scale 7. Drug Scale
  4. Distress Scale 8. Stress Management Scale

These eight scales (measures) represent common referral problems, issues, and disorders.

A concern, with any assessment instrument or test, is determining whether the respondent was truthful while being tested. Treatment outcome assessments are no exception, in that the accuracy and reliability of client (patients, offenders) answers, is often questioned (Kingi & Hauora, 2003). An important and unique component of the Pre-Post Inventory is its built-in, Truthfulness Scale. Clients (patients, offenders) often attempt to minimize their problems, or portray themselves in an overly favorable light. When this happens, assessment results are not accurate or useful; indeed, they may be misleading, because they are distorted. The Pre-Post Inventory Truthfulness Scale identifies client (patient, offender) denial, problem minimization, and attempts to "fake good". Other Pre-Post Inventory scales were included, because of their prominence in intervention, counseling, and treatment settings. Stress, or the improper management of stress, seems to underlie many, if not most, other disorders. Inclusion of the other Pre-Post Inventory scales was clear-cut. The eight Pre-Post Inventory scales assess common problem areas and disorders that are often involved in most treatment settings. In the event that a patient's treatment plan does not include any of these eight areas of inquiry, omitted problems/disorders will, likely, not be treated. It is recommended that the Pre-Post pre-test be administered, as part of a treatment program intake screening. Then, decisions can be made, including elevated, (70 to 89th percentile) and severely, elevated, (90 to 100th percentile) pre-test scale scores (more specifically, the problems/disorders they represent) in the patient's treatment plan. Exceptions to treatment plan inclusion, should be noted in the "comments and recommendations" section of the pre-test and comparison reports. Such a procedure would, often, help explain "no change" or "negative change" comparison report results. Referral and treatment program omissions are discussed in the website, on the "Anomalies and Outliers" webpage. In some instances, non-treatment may explain little or, even, negative pre-post scale score change.

No one treatment outcome, or effectiveness test is appropriate for use in all treatment settings, or milieus.

Another consideration is the pre-test scale score. When the pre-test score is at, or below the 69th percentile, it is in the "no-problem" range, which means there may be little need for treatment. Said another way, there may be little room for change. This should be noted; in these instances, little or no positive change would be likely. Such low, pre-test scale score situations may help explain "little change" and, "negative change" pre-test/post-test scale comparisons.

These caveats are intended to help Pre-Post Inventory users understand the test and its applications. Perhaps, the most informative Pre-Post Inventory resource is its website, If you have questions or suggestions, please call Professional Online Testing Solutions, Inc. at 1 (800) 231-2401, or email us at

Numerous studies (Andrews, Bonta & Hoge, 1990; Freidmann, Hendrickson, Gerstein & Zhang, 2004) have demonstrated the importance of matching problem severity with treatment intensity. Other studies attest to the value of intervention, counseling, and treatment (Bergin & Garfield, 1994). However, after completion of treatment, the questions remain "Was treatment effective?" "Did the client positively change?" Mental health professionals, treatment staff, program administrators, referral agencies, patients, and their families want to know when treatment results in positive change. Other treatment advantages are many, and include relapse research, decreased recidivism, acknowledging treatment effectiveness, etc.

Pre-Post Inventory database research is ongoing. We hope it will facilitate test improvements, updates and improved treatment outcome results in the future. We would like the Pre-Post Inventory to be included in such research. Our test user feedback is important. Contact us by phone, email or letter with suggestions, questions and concerns.

Professional Online Testing Solutions, Inc.
P.O. Box 32974
Phoenix, Arizona 85064-2974

Telephone: 1 (800) 231-2401



The Pre-Post Inventory is administered to a client (patient, offender) twice; once, before entering treatment (pre-test) and, again, upon treatment completion (post-test). The same test is administered twice. Pre-test scale scores serve as a baseline for, subsequent, post-test comparison. The Pre-Post Inventory is a multimodal, or multiscale, self-report, assessment instrument, or test. The eight Pre-Post Inventory scales (Truthfulness, Distress, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem, Alcohol, Drug, and Stress Management) scores are evidence-based. They provide a broad and relevant outcome spectrum, for assessing treatment-related change. When interested in client change, or treatment outcome, we recommend consideration of the Pre-Post Inventory.


Andrews, D. A., Bonta, J., & Hoge, R. D. (1990). Classification for effective rehabilitation: Rediscovering psychology. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 17, 19-52.

Bergin, A. E. & S. L. Garfield, eds. (1994). Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 4th Edition. New York: Wiley.

Friedmann, P. D., Hendrickson, J. C., Gerstein, D. R. & Zhang, Z. (2004). The effect of matching comprehensive services to patients' needs on drug use improvement in addiction treatment. Addiction, 99 (8): 962-972.

Kingi, T. K. & Hauora, T. P. (2003). Developing Measures to Monitor the Impact of Outcomes on a Specific Cultural Group such as Maori. Massey University, Auckland NZ.

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