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Cognitive Distortion Scales

John Briere, PhD

Assesses negative thinking patterns that interfere with optimal functioning
Paper and pencil
Age range:
18 years to 91 years
10–15 minutes; 5 minutes to score
Qualification level:
A degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in psychology, counseling, speech-language pathology, or a closely related field plus satisfactory completion of coursework in test interpretation, psychometrics and measurement theory, educational statistics, or a closely related area; or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests. Close

Quickly Assess Your Clients for Five Types of Cognitive Distortion Including Low Self-Esteem

The CDS is a 40-item self-assessment of cognitive distortions for adults ages 18 years and older.

Features and benefits

The CDS scales reflect five types of cognitive distortion:

  • Self-Criticism (SC)—Low self-esteem and self-devaluation as expressed in the tendency to criticize or devalue oneself.
  • Self-Blame (SB)—Extent to which the respondent blames himself or herself for negative, unwanted events in his or her life, including events outside the respondent's control.
  • Helplessness (HLP)—Perception of being unable to control important aspects of one's life.
  • Hopelessness (HOP)—Extent to which the respondent believes that the future is bleak and that he or she is destined to fail
  • Preoccupation With Danger (PWD)—Tendency to view the world, especially the interpersonal domain, as a dangerous place.