Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 83–102

The Distress Tolerance Scale: Development and Validation of a Self-Report Measure


DOI: 10.1007/s11031-005-7955-3

Cite this article as:
Simons, J.S. & Gaher, R.M. Motiv Emot (2005) 29: 83. doi:10.1007/s11031-005-7955-3


This paper presents the development and validation of a self-report measure of emotional distress tolerance. The initial scale was developed in Study 1 (N = 642). The scale evinced expected relations with other measures of affective functioning, supporting its convergent and discriminant validity. Criterion validity was supported by significant negative associations with substance use coping but not enhancement motives. Study 2 (N = 823), extended the results of the initial factor analysis, indicating that the Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS) contains four first-order factors, which are indicators of a single second-order general distress tolerance factor. Study 2 indicated that the DTS was stable over a 6-month interval and the DTS was prospectively associated with alcohol problems among men. In both studies, males reported significantly higher levels of distress tolerance than women.

Key Words

distress tolerancepersonalityalcoholmarijuanaaffectborderline personality disorder

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of South DakotaVermillion
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of South DakotaVermillion