The distress tolerance scale: Development and validation of a self-report measure

Jeffrey S. Simons, Raluca M. Gaher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1005 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-102
Number of pages20
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • Alcohol
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Distress tolerance
  • Marijuana
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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