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21-07-2017 | Uitgave 4/2017

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 4/2017

Measuring Attentional Control Ability or Beliefs? Evaluation of the Factor Structure and Convergent Validity of the Attentional Control Scale

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 4/2017
Leanne Quigley, Caitlin A. Wright, Keith S. Dobson, Christopher R. Sears


The Attentional Control Scale (ACS; Derryberry and Reed 2002) has been widely used to measure individual differences in attentional control capacity, yet limited data exists on the factor structure and psychometric properties of the scale. Using confirmatory factor analysis with a sample of 125 undergraduate students, the present study evaluated and compared two different factor structures for the ACS reported in the literature. The convergent validity of the ACS was also explored by testing its associations with a behavioural measure of attentional control (the antisaccade task) and measures of working memory capacity. Confirmatory factor analysis supported a correlated two-factor model reflecting “focusing” and “shifting” subscales that eliminated several underperforming items from each subscale. Contrary to predictions, there were no statistically significant correlations between the ACS and its subscales and the working memory and antisaccade task indices. In addition, it was found that the ACS and its subscales were negatively related to symptoms of anxiety and depression, whereas performance on the working memory and antisaccade tasks was unrelated to anxiety or depression. These findings suggest that the ACS may be a better measure of beliefs about attentional control capacity than ability per se, a possibility that requires further investigation.

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