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Cognit Ther Res. 2010 Oct;34(5):467-478. Epub 2010 Apr 6.

Measuring Negative and Positive Thoughts in Children: An Adaptation of the Children's Automatic Thoughts Scale (CATS).


The aim of this study is to describe the factor structure and psychometric properties of an extended version of the Children's Automatic Thoughts Scale (CATS), the CATS-Negative/Positive (CATS-N/P). The CATS was originally designed to assess negative self-statements in children and adolescents. However, positive thoughts also play a major role in childhood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, positive self-statements were added to the CATS. The CATS-N/P was administered to a community sample of 554 children aged 8-18 years. The results of a confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the positive self-statements formed a separate and psychometrically sound factor. Internal and short-term test-retest reliability was good. Boys reported more hostile and positive thoughts than girls; and younger children reported more negative thoughts concerning physical threat, social threat, and failure than older children. In conclusion, the results of the current study support the use of the CATS-N/P for the measurement of positive and negative thoughts in children. The application of the CATS-N/P can facilitate further research on cognitive factors in different childhood disorders.

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