, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 305-320
Date: 11 Jan 2008

The Cognitive Escape Scale: Measuring HIV-related Thought Avoidance

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Cognitive escape provides a model for examining the cognitive processes involved in escaping from thoughts of HIV/AIDS in a population of men who have sex with men (MSM). This investigation presents psychometric information and validation data on the Cognitive Escape Scale (CES), a measure of HIV-related cognitive avoidance. This study also examined the associations between the CES and self-report measures of theoretically related constructs, including HIV-related worry, sensation-seeking, depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and risky sexual behaviors. Participants were 709 MSM (71% White, 13% Latino, 8% African-American, 6% Native American; M age = 35). The CES measured HIV-related thought avoidance. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported a 3-factor structure to the CES, suggesting three strategies of cognitive escape: fatalism/short-term thinking, thought suppression/distraction, and alcohol/drug use. These factors are differentially related to several variables of interest including risky sexual behaviors. Although the CES is designed for use with both HIV negative and positive men, correlates differed between groups.