The development and initial validation of the Baylor Emotional Reasoning Questionnaire (BERQ).
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Russell, Laurie H., 1990-
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Anxiety disorders are a classification of mental disorders characterized by excessive fear or anxiety that is difficult to control and hinders daily functioning. Anxiety disorders are maintained by information-processing biases, one of which is emotional reasoning. Emotional reasoning refers to a reliance on one’s emotional state at the expense of objective information when forming conclusions about oneself and the world. There is a critical gap in the literature related to how emotional reasoning is assessed. In response, this dissertation considers the development and preliminary examination of a new self-report measure of emotional reasoning, the Baylor Emotional Reasoning Questionnaire (BERQ). This measure was developed to address noted limitations of existing measures of emotional reasoning, including content linked to only a narrow-band of negative emotions, disorder-specific focus, and lack of standardization across studies. An initial item pool was developed using a scenario-based approach to assess emotional reasoning. A group of 358 undergraduate students completed that item pool in Study 1. The distribution of item scores was examined and an exploratory factor analysis was used to identify areas for item pool refinement. A refined item pool was examined in Study 2 to provide initial psychometric properties of the BERQ. A distinct group of 373 undergraduate students completed the BERQ as well as self-report measures assessing convergent and divergent constructs in Study 2A. A measure of trait anxiety was used to examine concurrent validity and incremental validity. A subset of Study 2A participants (N = 56) elected to participate in Study 2B, in which they watched a video clip, completed a measure of distress intolerance to further examine concurrent validity and incremental validity, and completed the BERQ to examine test-retest reliability. The BERQ evidenced no convergent, divergent, or concurrent relations. Emotional reasoning did not predict unique variance in distress intolerance, but did predict unique variance in trait anxiety over and above negative emotionality and anxiety-based reasoning. Results from the present study suggest that the BERQ may not be an adequate assessment measure for the construct of emotional reasoning.