Evaluating distress tolerance measures: Interrelations and associations with impulsive behaviors

Michael D. Anestis*, Jason M. Lavender, Erin C. Marshall-Berenz, Kim L. Gratz, Matthew T. Tull, Thomas E. Joiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Prior studies have utilized a variety of selfreport and behavioral measures of distress tolerance to predict dysregulated behaviors and other problematic outcomes. However, few studies have examined the concurrent associations among these various measures, which may be assessing distinct constructs. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the concurrent utility of several self-report and behavioral distress tolerance measures in predicting two clinically-relevant outcomes: bulimic symptoms and general impulsive behaviors. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that whereas only self-reported emotional distress tolerance was significantly associated with bulimic symptom severity, self-reported emotional and physical distress tolerance, as well as a behavioral measure of psychological distress tolerance, were significantly associated with impulsive behaviors in general. These findings highlight the need for further explication of the conceptualization and operationalization of the distress tolerance construct, as well as research examining the convergent and discriminant validity of various distress tolerance assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-602
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bulimia
  • Disordered eating
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Experiential avoidance
  • Impulsive behaviors


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