Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 65 Issue 1 (March 1992), Pages 1-88

How dysfunctional are the dysfunctional attitudes in another culture? (pages 17-26)

The Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS‐A) has been used in many studies to measure depressogenic attitudes, vulnerability to depression and to assess the effectiveness of cognitive therapy. Despite its frequent use in research, no data have yet been reported on its item validity. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the item validity and psychometric properties of the DAS‐A in the Turkish cultural context. The subjects were 345 university students. The locally adapted versions of the Beck Depression Inventory and the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire were also administered. The reliability coefficients and the factor structure of the DAS‐A were found to be similar to those reported in the West. However, the total mean was found to be unusually high. The reason for this elevated mean score was found to reside in the response patterns of the subjects to the reverse items. None of these 10 reverse items discriminated the dysphoric and non‐dysphoric groups. A closer examination revealed these 10 items to reflect autonomous attitudes. It seems that these 10 reverse items do nothing but distort the mean scores and render cross‐cultural comparisons difficult. Recent research on depression shows that, while autonomy may or may not be related to depression, sociotropy has consistent association with it. Researchers in other cultures and those working with minority and immigrant groups are warned against this bias inherent in the DAS‐A.

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