Attributional and emotional responses to socially ambiguous cues: Validation of a new assessment of social/emotional information processing in healthy adults and impulsive aggressive patients

Clinical Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Journal of Psychiatric Research (Impact Factor: 4.09). 05/2009; 43(10):915-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2009.01.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A self-report questionnaire was developed to assess attributional and emotional responses to aversive, but socially ambiguous, actions by one or more provocateurs. Multiple vignettes were developed and were followed by questions related to attribution of the provocateur's intent and the subject's emotional response to the provocateur's actions. The resulting social information processing-attribution and emotional response questionnaire (SIP-AEQ) was administered to 923 community-based adults (ages 18-45). Factor analysis revealed a three-factor structure reflecting hostile attribution, instrumental attribution, and benign attribution to provocation. A cross-validational study substantiated the factor structure. The modified 8-vignette SIP-AEQ demonstrated good internal reliability, and convergent and discriminant validity. The hostile attribution items showed a significant relationship with measures of emotion processing and responsiveness. Further analysis in a sample of impulsive aggressive patients and healthy control subjects noted similar psychometric properties and good separation between groups. Implications regarding the cognitive and emotional correlates of aggression are discussed.

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