Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Psychometric Properties of a Korean Version of the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Psychometric Properties of a Korean Version of the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire

Article excerpt

Individuals often pay attention to the literal content of their thoughts rather than to their direct experiences with the world, and behave accordingly (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 2011). This evaluative process has some advantages in that a verbal process is prompt and useful in problem-solving-focused coping strategies. However, in many cases, paying attention to one's thoughts can unnecessarily induce rigid and inflexible patterns of behavior, so that the individual loses contact with the direct experience outside of his or her thoughts (Luoma, Hayes, & Walser, 2007). For example, if an individual with fused cognition thinks, "Others will think badly of me," the thought inside his/her mind cannot easily be separated from the judgment. Therefore, that individual is more likely to convince him- or herself that the thought in his/her mind is correct, to find supporting evidence and, eventually, to follow that thought pattern (e.g., avoid social engagements). This verbal evaluative process is called cognitive fusion and is defined as "the excessive attachment to the literal content of human thought that makes healthy psychological flexibility difficult or impossible" (Strosahl, Hayes, Wilson, & Gifford, 2004, p.32).

The cognitive fusion process is included in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT; Hayes et al., 2011). The ACT model is based on the relational frame theory, according to which it is suggested that humans think and act according to a language and cognitive structural frame acquired through learning (Hayes et al., 2011). Language is a symbolic system that helps people have various experiences simply by thinking. However, when cognitive processing is taking place individuals often fail to distinguish between real experience and thoughts, allowing their thoughts to begin dominating their behavioral regulatory functions. This process of cognitive fusion can result in individuals failing to live in the present moment and, instead, living in the past or in the future. In the ACT model it is postulated that psychological problems and disorders derive largely from psychological inflexibility that occurs as a result of six subprocesses: cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance (a tendency to avoid/control negative internal experiences, even when doing so causes harm), attachment to one's conceptualized self (naming oneself narrowly), dominance of one's conceptualized past and future (opposite state of here and now), and a lack of values (one's compass of life and infinite goals) and committed action toward those values (Luoma et al., 2007). In particular, according to the model it is assumed that cognitive fusion and subsequent experiential avoidance make up a core process that leads to psychological inflexibility (Hayes & Smith, 2005) and, thus, the interventions developed in the ACT model primarily deal with cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance (Luoma et al., 2007). In line with the ACT model, cognitive fusion has been associated with a wide range of psychological problems and disorders (major depression, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, interpersonal problems, low self-esteem, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia), as well as with psychological inflexibility (e.g., Gillanders et al., 2014; Hayes et al., 2011; Luoma et al., 2007).

Currently, among the instruments available to measure cognitive fusion, the Believability of Anxious Feelings and Thoughts Scale (Herzberg et al., 2012) and the Psychological Inflexibility in Pain Scale (Wicksell, Lekander, Sorjonen, & Olsson, 2010), are designed to assess anxiety disorder and chronic pain, respectively. The Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth (Greco, Lambert, & Baer, 2008) was not designed to assess cognitive fusion independently. Thus, the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire (CFQ) has recently been developed to facilitate measurement of cognitive fusion as a single construct in a wide range of populations. …

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