A Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Attitudes and Belief Scale 2

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to empirically investigate the theoretical matrix on the basis of which the Attitudes and Beliefs Scale 2 (ABS2, DiGiuseppe et al., 1988) was developed. 300 undergraduates volunteered to complete the Romanian version of the ABS2 (ABS2-R, Macavei, 2002). A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted using Lisrel (8,72) framework (Jöreskog & Sörbom, 2004). The factor structure of the ABS2, derived on the three major theoretical criteria (evaluative processes, domains of content, and modality) was compared with the most viable factor structure resulted from a previous exploratory factor analysis (DiGiuseppe at al., 1989). The factor structure model found by DiGiuseppe et al. (1989) was the most plausible, followed by the two-factor structure model derived on modality. Future practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

Key words: Attitudes and Belief Scale 2, irrational/rational beliefs, rational-emotive & cognitive behavioral therapy.

INTRODUCTION

The Attitudes and Belief Scale 2 (ABS2, DiGiuseppe, Leaf, Exner, & Robin, 1988) is a 72-item measure of irrational / rational beliefs derived from the current theory of Rational-emotive and cognitive behavior therapy (REBT Ellis, 1994). According to the REBT theory, beliefs (B) designate hot or evaluative cognitive processes (Ellis & Dryden, 1997) through which activating events (A) experienced by the person are appraised. Irrational beliefs lead to dysfunctional emotional, behavioral or cognitive consequences (C), while rational beliefs lead to functional ones. The major aim of REBT intervention is to actively dispute (D) clients' irrational beliefs and to help them assimilate more efficient (E) rational beliefs (Ellis, 1962, 1994). Although in his original work, Ellis (1962) proposed 11 types of irrational beliefs, future developments in REBT delineate only four categories: demandingness (DEM), catastrophizing or awfulizing (AWF), low frustration tolerance (LFT), and self-downing / global evaluation (SD/GE).

The ABS2 meets all three theoretical validity criteria for belief measures postulated by the current REBT theory (Bernard, 1998): 1) contains cognitive items that are not contaminated by affective wording; 2) allows different scores for irrationality and rationality; and 3) differentiates evaluative cognitive processes from their content. ABS2-items were developed to fit a 4x3x2 theoretical matrix, and all 72 of them met the unanimous agreement of 13 therapists who had studied under Albert Ellis. The first factor of the matrix represents the four evaluative cognitive processes: demandingness (DEM), catastrophizing or awfulizing (AWF), low frustration tolerance (LFT), and self-downing (SD). The second theoretical factor represents three domains of content / contexts: comfort, approval, and achievement. The third factor represents the two modalities of evaluative cognitions: irrational and rational. One could derive 24 separate subscales (3 items each) based on the factors described above (DiGiuseppe, Robin, Leaf, & Gormon, 1989). However, in clinical practice and research, scores are usually computed on one of the three criteria: a total global irrationality score (72- items); two subscale scores for irrationality and rationality (36-items) and four subscale scores for the four irrational evaluative cognitions (18-items). The ABS2 shows good construct validity, discriminating between different clinical and non-clinical groups (DiGiuseppe et al., 1989; Bernard, 1998; Macavei, 2002).

Although the ABS2 is a theoretically derived instrument, its factor structure has only been investigated through exploratory factor studies. DiGiuseppe et al. (1989) have conducted exploratory factor analyses both on the 72 individual items, and on 3-item parcels of the 24 theoretical matrix cells, and concluded that the 3-item parcels yielded a better solution, accounting for 66,5 % of the total variance (compared to 38 % of the variance accounted by the individual items). …