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Measuring Thought Content Valence After a Breakup: Development of the Positive and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts (PANERT) Scale

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Measuring Thought Content Valence After a Breakup: Development of the Positive and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts (PANERT) Scale

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The end of a romantic relationship is a common and serious presenting concern among clients at university counseling centers. Researchers have highlighted the need to understand the nature of thoughts about an ex-relationship, because they may lead to unique clinical interventions. One aspect of thought that may be clinically relevant is content valence, or the positive or negative emotions associated with the content of the thought. Unfortunately, content valence has not been addressed in the romantic relationship dissolution literature. To address this omission, we developed the 12-item Positive and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts (PANERT) scale across 4 samples. In Sample 1 (n = 475), exploratory factor analyses demonstrated a multidimensional scale with 2 factors: positive content valence and negative content valence. Sample 2 (n = 509) and Sample 3 (n = 291) confirmed the factor structure in college and community samples. Internal consistencies ranged from .88-.94 for positive content valence and from .87-.94 for negative content valence. In Sample 4 (n = 133), construct validity was supported, with the PANERT factors uniquely predicting breakup distress, relationship preoccupation, depression, loss of self-concept, rediscovery of self-concept, negative emotional adjustment, and positive emotional adjustment. Further, the direction of these relationships suggest that positive thought content valence may be consistently maladaptive to recovery from an ex-relationship, and negative thought content valence may have maladaptive and adaptive features. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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