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J Pers Assess. 1990 Fall;55(1-2):124-34.

The Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale: a cognitive-developmental measure of emotion.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Health Sciences, Chicago Medical School.


The Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS) is based on a new cognitive-developmental model of emotional experience. The scale poses evocative interpersonal situations and elicits descriptions of the emotional responses of self and others which are scored using specific structural criteria. Forty undergraduates (20 of each sex) were tested. Interrater reliability and intratest homogeneity of the LEAS were strong. The LEAS was significantly correlated with two measures of maturity: the Washington University Sentence Completion Test (SCT) of Ego Development, and the Parental Descriptions Scale-a cognitive-developmental measure of object representation. In addition, the LEAS correlated positively with openness to experience and emotional range but not with measures of specific emotions, repression or the number of words used in the LEAS responses. These findings suggest that it is the level of emotion, not the specific quality of emotion, that is tapped by the LEAS.

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