Cristina MOGOAŞE*1, Simona ȘTEFAN1, Daniel DAVID1,2
1 Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA
Rational and irrational beliefs are key constructs in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy, being the central tenet of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Particularly, when facing a negative event, rational beliefs are considered to trigger functional emotions (e.g., sadness, concern), while irrational beliefs are generative mechanisms of dysfunctional emotions representing (sub)clinical problems (e.g., depression, anxiety). The role of irrational beliefs in association with emotional and behavioral problems has been extensively documented; however, the role of rational beliefs is still unclear despite their high relevance in relation to the distinction between functional and dysfunctional distress (i.e., according to the binary model of distress, rational beliefs are expected to be negatively related to dysfunctional emotions and positively or nonrelated to functional negative emotions, while irrational beliefs are expected to be positively related to both functional and dysfunctional negative emotions). As the inconsistencies in the available data may be due to measurement issues, we developed a new, theory-driven measure of rational and irrational beliefs, and tested its psychometric properties in both an unselected student sample and a subclinical sample. The scale was shown to have good psychometric properties and to better reflect the REBT theory in relation to measures of functional and dysfunctional distress.
Keywords: REBT, rational and irrational beliefs, functional and dysfunctional emotions, binary model of distress