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Title: The development of a multidimensional scale to measure irrational beliefs regarding frustration intolerance
Author: Harrington, Neil
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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This research examines the construct of frustration intolerance. Although this is a central concept in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), its structure and definition are unclear. The irrational beliefs that comprise frustration intolerance are hypothesised to form one of two major categories or psychological disturbance. However, the empirical evidence is sparse regarding the relationship of these beliefs with disturbance and with the other category of beliefs, those referring to self-worth. The concept of frustration intolerance and existing methods of assessment are discussed. A multidimensional measure, the Frustration-Discomfort Scale, was developed based on descriptions of beliefs in the literature and REBT theory. An exploratory factor analysis, using both clinical and student populations, was conducted and indicated a four-factor structure. These dimensions were labelled: (I) Comfort, involving intolerance of difficulties and hassles; (I) Emotional discomfort, involving intolerance of emotional distress; (III) Entitlement, involving intolerance of unfairness and frustrated gratification; and (IV) Achievement, involving intolerance of frustrated perfectionistic goals. A series of validation studies established that this measure had good reliability and validity. From these results, a simplified scale was developed and a confirmatory factor analysis conducted to test the hypothesised factor structure. This analysis and further validation studies, supported a four-factor model. The results showed that the dimensions differed in their relationship with emotional disturbance: Using multiple regression analyses, Entitlement was uniquely associated with anger, Comfort with depression, and Emotional discomfort with anxiety. These relationships remained significant when controlling for negative affect of self-esteem. Whilst self-esteem was correlated with depression and anxiety it had no significant association with anger. Similar differential relationships were found regarding self-control problems. A study of academic procrastination indicated that Comfort uniquely predicted procrastination problems in a student population. In a clinical group, self-harming was investigated using a structural equation modelling approach, and this suggested that emotional discomfort and entitlement beliefs, in addition to low self-worth, were important features. Therapy engagement was also explored using clinical outcome data. Comfort was related to increased therapy sessions and Entitlement with increased therapy dropout. The implications for theory and clinical practice are discussed. Overall, the findings supported an REBT model of psychological disturbance, the role of separate categories of irrational belief, and the usefulness of a multidimensional measure of frustration intolerance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available