Responding to questions about thoughts attenuates responses to questions about feelings: Further exploration of the situational self-statement and affective state inventory

Darla J. Lawson, Geoffrey L. Thorpe, Lisle R. Kingery, Sandra T. Sigmon, Edith A. Beauchamp

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The Situational Self-Statement and Affective State Inventory (SSSASI) assesses specific thoughts and feelings in response to 5 vignettes describing frustrating events. In its original form, participants responded to a series of 5 self-statements (thoughts), then 5 affective state descriptors (feelings), following each vignette. Recent research has shown that a parallel form of the SSSASI in which the feelings precede the thoughts produces significantly higher scores on many of the feelings categories. Responding to the thoughts before the feelings significantly attenuates scores on the feelings, but responding to the feelings before the thoughts has no effect on scores on the thoughts. To test the limits of this phenomenon, we studied 6 parallel forms of the SSSASI, each with a different number of thoughts preceding the feelings. The results show that increasing the numbers of thoughts presented before the feelings tends to produce progressively lower scores on the feelings. If we assume that stronger endorsements of feelings are more valid reflections of respondents' genuine initial reactions to frustrating events, then the implications are that a preferable format for the SSSASI-and, presumably, similar inventories assessing thoughts and feelings-is that in which participants respond to questions about feelings before they respond to questions about thoughts.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)59-70
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Rational - Emotive and Cognitive - Behavior Therapy
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2004



    • Psychometrics
    • Questionnaires
    • REBT
    • SSSASI

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology

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