Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 763-780

First online:

The Sociotropy–Autonomy Scale: Structure and Implications

  • Peter J. BielingAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
  • , Aaron T. BeckAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Gregory K. BrownAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania

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The Sociotropy Autonomy Scale (SAS), especially the Autonomy Scale, has demonstrated inconsistent results concerning its relationship to depression and psychopathology. We hypothesized that these inconsistent findings may be related to the factor structure of the SAS. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of the SAS were conducted in two separate samples of psychiatric outpatients (n = 1033, n = 1034). The results revealed a two-factor solution for sociotropy: Preference for Affiliation and Fear of Criticism and Rejection. The second factor, Fear of Criticism and Rejection, had a stronger association with psychopathology than the first factor. The results also indicated a two-factor solution for autonomy: Sensitivity to Others' Control and Independent Goal Attainment. Although the Sensitivity to Others' Control factor had a positive correlation with psychopathology, the Independent Goal Attainment factor had a negative correlation with psychopathology. We speculate that Independent Goal Attainment may be associated with resilience or hardiness and functions as a buffer against stress. Implications for revising the SAS as well as employing these factors in future studies are discussed.

sociotropy autonomy factor structure personality depression