Cognitive distortions of somatic experiences: revision & validation of a measure

Source: J Psychosom Res 1997 Sep;43(3):293-306

The article reports on the revision of the Cognitive Errors
Questionnaire (CEQ). The CEQ which was originally developed to
measure cognitive distortions specific to chronic pain, has
been significantly shortened and made applicable to a wider
range of somatic problems. The Cognitive Errors
Questionnaire-Revised (CEQ-R) contains two subscales:
Somatic–distortions specific to somatic experiences; and
General–distortions to everyday life events.

Validation of the scale with CFS, depressed, and chronic pain
groups and healthy controls confirms the CEQ-R loads onto general
and somatic factors. Both subscales have high internal consistency
and good test-retest reliability. The pattern of subjects'
responses to the CEQ-R scores showed that the depressed group
scored significantly higher on the General CEQ-R scale than
the other groups, whereas the CFS and chronic pain groups
scored higher than healthy controls on the Somatic CEQ-R.

Somatic CEQ-R scores showed a significant decrease over the
course of a pain management program, with a concomitant
decrease in disability and depression scores. Further analyses
showed the Somatic CEQ-R to be significantly related to self
and symptom focusing, whereas the General CEQ-R was found to
be significantly correlated with higher depression, lower
self-esteem, and self focusing. The CEQ-R may be a useful
instrument to examine the relationship between cognitive
distortions and disability in a variety of illnesses, and to
differentiate primary depression from overlapping somatic

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