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Constructive Thinking Inventory

Seymour Epstein, PhD

Measures beliefs and thinking patterns that underlie emotional intelligence, coping ability, and physical and emotional well-being
Paper and pencil, Download, E-Manual
Age range:
18 years to 80 years
15–30 minutes
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

The CTI is a 108-item self-report inventory that assesses constructive and destructive beliefs and thinking patterns.

Features and benefits

  • Based on Dr. Epstein's Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory. According to this theory, people have two fundamental adaptive systems: an "experiential system" that automatically learns from lived experience, and a "rational/intellectual system" that operates by conscious reasoning. The CTI measures the efficacy of the experiential system; intelligence tests measure the efficacy of the rational/intellectual system.
  • Cannot be hand-scored. The individual's responses are entered into the downloadable software, and the program scores the protocol and automatically generates a score report with raw scores and gender-based T scores with a profile of the results.
  • Predicts a variety of desirable abilities/states, that are either unrelated or only very weakly related to intellectual intelligence, including work performance, social skills, and emotional and physical well-being. It has also been found that CTI scores significantly supplement intellectual intelligence in the prediction of academic performance as measured by grade point average.
  • Widely applicable. In clinical and counseling settings, the CTI can be used to obtain diagnostic information about beliefs and ways of thinking that can be directly applied in psychotherapy and counseling. In this respect, the CTI has been particularly useful in treatment centers for drug abuse that emphasize the development of coping skills. In business settings, the CTI can be used for personnel selection and for training and counseling at all administrative levels. In educational settings, it can assist in the selection of students for college admissions and in the counseling of high school and college students.

Test structure

  • Items are rated on a 5-point rating scale.
  • Scores are provided for the Global Constructive Thinking Scale, six scales, and 15 subscales.
  • CTI scales provide information about beliefs and thinking processes at three levels of generality. The Global Constructive Thinking Scale, composed of items from several other scales, is the most general score. At the next level are six main scales (Emotional Coping, Behavioral Coping, Personal Superstitious Thinking, Categorical Thinking, Esoteric Thinking, and Naive Optimism) that measure basic ways in which people think (constructively or destructively). Almost all main scales have subscales, which identify the specific thoughts and ways of thinking that make up the main scales. This information is useful for elucidating the scores on the main scales, for providing refined diagnoses, and, most important, for counseling and psychotherapy geared toward correcting maladaptive beliefs and ways of thinking.
  • The CTI also includes Validity and Defensiveness scales.

Technical information

  • Normative sample consists of of 908 U.S. census-matched adults.
  • Gender-based raw score to T-score conversions provided for all scales/subscales and for the Global Constructive Thinking Scale.