Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

A French Version of the Balanced Time Perspective Scale: Factor Structure and Relation to Cognitive Reappraisal

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

A French Version of the Balanced Time Perspective Scale: Factor Structure and Relation to Cognitive Reappraisal

Article excerpt

Time perspective (TP)-the tendency to focus on the past, present, and/or future-has a pervasive influence on many aspects of human cognition and behaviour, such as decision making, planning, motivation, self-regulation, and sense of identity (e.g., Boniwell, 2005; Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2004; Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). A seminal definition of TP was proposed by Lewin (1951, p. 75), as "the totality of the individual's view of his psychological future and psychological past existing at a given time." Later conceptualisations of TP emphasised its cognitive, emotional, and behavioural components: "a cognitive operation that implies both an emotional reaction to imagined time zones (such as future, present, or past) and a preference for locating action in some temporal zone" (Lennings, 1996, p. 72).

TP has been conceived as a relatively stable characteristic of personality (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). The Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI; Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999) is a widely used questionnaire that has been developed to assess five distinct TPs: Past-Negative (i.e., negative attitude toward the past), PastPositive (i.e., positive view of the past), Present-Hedonistic (i.e., orientation toward immediate pleasures), Present-Fatalistic (i.e., belief in the inevitability of the future), and Future (i.e., planning for future goals). Although TP has been recognised as a tional it has also been recognised that the ability to flexibly switch among TPs according to situational demands brings psychological, physical, and social benefits (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). Building on the ZTPI structure, such a functional profile has been conceptualised and characterised by moderate to high scores on the past-positive, present-hedonistic, and future subscales, as well as by low scores on the past-negative and present-fatalistic subscales (Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2004).

An alternative measure of TP has been specifically designed to assess a balanced TP, here conceived as "a frequent and equal tendency to think about one's past and future in positive ways" (Webster, 2011, p. 112). On this view, although benefits can either be drawn from positive reminiscence (i.e., O'Rourke, Cappeliez, & Claxton, 2011) or from positive prospection (i.e., Scheier & Carver, 1993), the frequent and extensive use of both these orientations might provide further advantages. Accordingly, the Balanced Time Perspective Scale (BTPS; Webster, 2011) comprises two subscales, respectively assessing the positive orientation toward the Past and the Future, that sum up into a global score reflecting the combined use of these mental representations as "sources of insight, strength and happiness" (Webster, 2011, p. 112). Although the BTPS does not comprise a subscale dedicated to the present per se, Past and Future representations are conceived as resources to deal with the present, an outlook that is entangled across items of both subscales. Indeed, the BTPS emphasizes the affective, motivational, and self-related aspects of positive memories and prospections, highlighting the ability to derive meaning and construct identity by building on these mental representations. For these reasons, the BTPS might constitute an interesting tool, notably in the context of clinical practice.

As compared with the ZTPI (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999), the BTPS includes a strong affective component, is relatively short, is not influenced by social desirability, and demonstrates higher subscale reliability (Webster, 2016). An initial set of studies using the BTPS indicated that the two-factor scale exhibited good psychometric properties in two general population samples (Webster, 2011; Webster & Ma, 2013) and showed that a balanced TP was associated with life satisfaction, happiness, self-esteem, and wisdom (Webster, 2016, 2011; Webster & Ma, 2013; Webster, Bohlmeijer, & Westerhof, 2014). In a lifespan perspective, earlier studies using BTPS showed that younger adults tended to be more future-oriented than older adults, whereas older adults tended to be more past-oriented than younger adults (Webster & Ma, 2013; Webster et al. …

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