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The Warpy Thoughts Scale: a New 20‐Item Instrument to Measure Dysfunctional Attitudes

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Cognitive theories of psychopathology propose that specific negative cognitive schema held by individuals can increase their likelihood of experiencing depressive episodes. While it has been argued that such dysfunctional attitudes are state measures that occur primarily during periods of depression, a range of research has supported the view that holding dysfunctional attitudes is ongoing, persisting prior to and following depressive episodes. To date, the need for a parsimonious measure of dysfunctional attitudes has not been well addressed. Using data provided by 4545 participants in a free on‐line cognitive behavioural therapy program, MoodGYM, we have developed the Warpy Thoughts Scale (WTS), a 20‐item instrument measuring dysfunctional attitudes. This scale provides 3 first order factors (Relationships, Achievements and Entitlements) and a higher order factor, Warpy Thoughts, from which a Warpy Thoughts score can be obtained. Confirmatory factor analyses on this model indicated that it provides robust results for men and women and for individuals in a wide range of ages. WTS scores were moderately correlated with levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms (0.39 and 0.40, respectively) and explained up to one‐fifth of the variance of these mental health measures. Further validation of the WTS against other measures of dysfunctional thoughts is required.
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Keywords: dysfunctional attitudes; on‐line CBT; self‐completed questionnaire

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200 Australia

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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