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Behav Res Ther. 2005 Aug;43(8):985-98.

Attempts to control unwanted thoughts in the night: development of the thought control questionnaire-insomnia revised (TCQI-R).

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK.


The attempted control of intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts has been implicated in the maintenance of a range of psychological disorders. The current paper describes the refinement of the Thought Control Questionnaire Insomnia (TCQI; Behav. Cogn. Psychoth. 29 (2001)) through its administration to a sample (n=385) including good sleepers and individuals with insomnia. Several items with poor psychometric properties were discarded, resulting in a 35-item revised TCQI. Factor analysis revealed six factors; aggressive suppression, cognitive distraction, reappraisal, social avoidance, behavioural distraction, and worry. The attempted management of unwanted thoughts was compared across individuals with insomnia and good sleepers, and the impact of these strategies on sleep quality, anxiety and depression was investigated. With the exception of cognitive distraction, individuals with insomnia, relative to good sleepers, more frequently used every thought control strategy. The strategies of aggressive suppression and worry, in particular, appeared to be unhelpful, with the use of these strategies predicting sleep impairment, anxiety and depression. The strategy of cognitive distraction appeared to be helpful, with the use of this strategy predicting better sleep quality.

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