The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality Questionnaire (RST-PQ): Development and Validation

Corr, Philip J and Cooper, Andrew. 2016. The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality Questionnaire (RST-PQ): Development and Validation. Psychological Assessment, 28(11), pp. 1427-1440. ISSN 1040-3590 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

We report the development and validation of a questionnaire measure of the revised reinforcement sensitivity theory (rRST) of personality. Starting with qualitative responses to defensive and approach scenarios modeled on typical rodent ethoexperimental situations, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) revealed a robust 6-factor structure: 2 unitary defensive factors, fight–flight–freeze system (FFFS; related to fear) and the behavioral inhibition system (BIS; related to anxiety); and 4 behavioral approach system (BAS) factors (Reward Interest, Goal-Drive Persistence, Reward Reactivity, and Impulsivity). Theoretically motivated thematic facets were employed to sample the breadth of defensive space, comprising FFFS (Flight, Freeze, and Active Avoidance) and BIS (Motor Planning Interruption, Worry, Obsessive Thoughts, and Behavioral Disengagement). Based on theoretical considerations, and statistically confirmed, a separate scale for Defensive Fight was developed. Validation evidence for the 6-factor structure came from convergent and discriminant validity shown by correlations with existing personality scales. We offer the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality Questionnaire to facilitate future research specifically on rRST and, more broadly, on approach-avoidance theories of personality.

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Published by American Psychological Association. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.


Personality, approach, avoidance, goal conflict, reinforcement sensitivity theory

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November 2016Published
4 February 2016Published Online
23 November 2015Accepted

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01 Mar 2016 11:10

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11 Mar 2021 13:41

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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