Reliability and Validity of the Persian Version of Distress Tolerance Scale

By Azizi, Ali Reza | Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, Fall 2010 | Go to article overview

Reliability and Validity of the Persian Version of Distress Tolerance Scale


Azizi, Ali Reza, Iranian Journal of Psychiatry


Objectives: This study aims to assess the validity and reliability of the Persian version of Simons and Gaher `s Distress Tolerance scale(DTS) by administering it to nicotine dependent students of Tehran University.

Method:In a descriptive cross-sectional study, 317 nicotine dependent students of Tehran University who were selected ,using available sampling method, completed DTS, Coping with Stress- Revised(CS-R), Positive and Negative Affect Scales(PANAS) and Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence(FTND). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistic methods and correlation coefficient.

Results: The alpha coefficients for Tolerance, Absorption, Appraisal and Regulation subscales were 0.75, 0.77, 0.70 and 0.75, respectively. The test-retest correlation coefficients with two months interval for Tolerance, Absorption, Appraisal and Regulation subscales and the total scale were 0.71, 0.69, 0.77, 0,73 and 0.79, respectively; all of which were statistically significant (p<0.001). The correlation coefficient of DTS with problem-focused, emotional-focused, less useful and insufficient coping with stress were found to be: 0.213, -0.278, -0.337 and -0.196. In addition, the correlation coefficient of DTS with positive emotion, negative emotion and smoking-dependency were 0.543, -0.224 and -0.653 which were also significant(p<0.05).

Conclusion: the DTS is valid and reliable and suitable to use for assessing distress tolerance.

Keywords: Psychological tests, Psychometrics, Reproducability

Iran J Psychiatry 2010; 5:154-158

Distress Tolerance refers to individual's ability to withstand and experience negative psychological states(1). Distress may be the result of physical and cognitive processes, but its representation is often emotional, and characterized by tendency to relieve this state. Distress tolerance is considered a meta-emotional construct with respect to tolerability and aversiveness; appraisal and acceptability; tendency to absorb attention and disrupt functioning; and regulation of emotions (1). People with low distress tolerance descript confusion as an intolerable construct and can not manage their confusion. These individuals have a negative perspective in connection with confusion, they do not seem to accept its existence; and therefore, underestimate their coping abilities. Most of these people try to avoid negative emotions and use different ways to find immediate relief for their confusion. Furthermore, because these individuals do not have the capability to deal with their emotions, all their attention is focused on the existence of the turbulent emotions ; and therefore, their performance will become significantly impaired (1).

Distress tolerance construct is also associated with substance abuse (1,2). Substance and drug use are emotion-based coping strategies. Emotion-based coping strategies are characterized by fast emotional change, while problem-based coping strategies involve the use of more cognitive resources, resulting in more gradual emotional change(2). Thus, substance use is an emotion-based coping strategy , which can result in the rapid relief of extreme emotions, especially for those who have low distress tolerance(1). Some researches suggest that low distress tolerance is associated with relapse cigarette consumption (3). Brown and colleagues reported that smokers who had sustained previous quitting attempts for at least 3 months, persisted longer in mental arithmetic tasks, breath holding, and CO2 inhalation relative to smokers who had never sustained a quit attempt(3). College students represent a population at risk for the development of substance-related problems (4,5).

In addition, Linehan, emphasize on distress tolerance and places this construct among the four main skills of her group therapy. According to linehan`s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy(DBT), people with borderline personality disorder have lower distress tolerance compared to others(6). …

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