The Agitation Behavior Scale (ABS) was designed to assess agitation and other problem behaviors that typically occur during the acute recovery phase after traumatic brain injury. 
Patients with Traumatic brain Injury
Method of Use
ABS was used to assess agitation. This is a 14-item scale that includes different types of behaviors. Each item is rated from 1 (absent) to 4 (extremely present). A total score of 21 or less is normal behavior 22-28 is mild agitation 29-35 is moderate agitation, 36-56 is severe agitation.
Score 1: Absent
2 points: slight. Does not prevent the patient from engaging in otherwise appropriate behavior
3 points: Moderate. Need to move from agitation to appropriate behavior
Score 4: Extreme. The commotion persists despite trying to redirect
Procedure: Behavior (assign 1 to 4 points for each of the following 14 items)
- Short attention span Easily distracted Difficulty concentrating
- Impulsive impatience Low tolerance for pain or frustration
- Uncooperative resisting care or requests
- Violence and/or threats of violence against persons or property
- Explosive or unpredictable anger
- Shaking, rubbing, moaning, or other self-stimulating behavior
- Pulling at tubes or restraints
- Wandering from treatment areas
- restless pacing or excessive movement
- Repetitive behaviors (motor or verbal)
- Rapid, loud or excessive talking.
- Sudden changes of mood.
- Excessive crying or laughing.
- Self-abusiveness (physical or verbal)
Test/Retest Reliability – (Corrigan 1989; 1=35; mean age=28.2; secondary education=12 years) Excellent correlation (r=70) of same-day scores between therapists and nurses
Interater/interrater reliability – TBI: (Bogner et al. 1099; 17=45; admitted to acute rehab s/p TBI)
Total score (1=02) correlated well with factor correlations for disinhibition (r=00), aggression (1=91) and instability (1=73) when conducted by a research assistant
Sufficient correlation of booth and nursing ratings (range 1 = 304 to 004) based on the researcher’s 1-minute observation and the nursing staff’s entire shift rating
Traumatic brain injury: (Corrigan & Bogner 1994; N=212; mean age=31.2 (14-3) years; admitted to rehabilitation unit for acquired brain injury)
Confirmatory factor analysis supports a three-component subscale structure of aggressive disinhibition and instability, representing the structure of agitation
Agitation measured by ABS is best represented as a single structure. The results provide additional support for the reliability and effectiveness of ABS.
- Kreutzer JS, Caplan B, DeLuca J. Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology; With 199 Figures and 139 Tables. Springer; 2011.
- Bogner JA, Corrigan JD, Bode RK, Heinemann AW. Rating scale analysis of the Agitated Behavior Scale. The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation. 2000 Feb 1;15(1):656-69.