Measuring Improved Safety

The Unsafe Behaviors Inventory (UBI) asks clients to self-report how often they are currently engaging in various unsafe behaviors (e.g., fighting, overeating, using substances, etc). There are 66 behaviors listed in total, including an additional field for clients to describe other behaviors they consider unsafe. Clients use a scale (see Figure 1) to indicate the frequency of each behavior, ranging from “Never” (scored as 0) to “Several times a day” (scored as 12). When the client completes the UBI online, a cumulative “score” is automatically generated, summing all of the client’s responses. The lowest possible score on the tool is 0, and the total possible is 792. The point is not to get to zero, necessarily, but to mark progress as a reduction in each client’s cumulative score.

Figure 1: Frequency Scale
Figure 1

The California Center of Excellence for Trauma Informed Care (CCETIC)has been working with a number of agencies to begin piloting the UBI. The data shown in Figure 2 below represent 24 clients who voluntarily participated in pre-post UBI assessments. The results are in and they show that the UBI is a useful way to measure change.

Overall, the pre/post analysis shows that cumulative UBI scores dropped dramatically. The average UBI score at baseline (T1) was 277.5, indicating overall relatively high levels of unsafe behavior. The average UBI score at follow-up (T2) was 157.5, demonstrating a considerable drop in unsafe behaviors overall (see Figure 2). The difference was statistically significant (p<.005) using ANOVA testing.

Figure 2: Average UBI Scores Pre and Post

Additionally (as shown in Figure 3), the majority (19 out of 24) of clients showed marked improvement from T1 to T2.

Figure 3: % of Clients Showing Pre-Post Reduction in Unsafe Behavior

The CCETIC team is working hard to acquire a large enough sample of UBI pre/post data pairs to put the UBI on the map as a validated tool.


  • Dr. Moira DeNike puts her skills in data collection, survey design, and data analysis to work helping nonprofit and public agencies improve their effectiveness in fields ranging from K-12 public education and juvenile justice to behavioral science and trauma-informed care.

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