Acceptance of Tinnitus: Validation of the Tinnitus Acceptance Questionnaire
The concept of acceptance has recently received growing attention within tinnitus research due to the fact that tinnitus acceptance is one of the major targets of psychotherapeutic treatments. Accordingly, acceptance-based treatments will most likely be increasingly offered to tinnitus patients and assessments of acceptance-related behaviours will thus be needed. The current study investigated the factorial structure of the Tinnitus Acceptance Questionnaire (TAQ) and the role of tinnitus acceptance as mediating link between sound perception (i.e. subjective loudness of tinnitus) and tinnitus distress. In total, 424 patients with chronic tinnitus completed the TAQ and validated measures of tinnitus distress, anxiety, and depression online. Confirmatory factor analysis provided support to a good fit of the data to the hypothesised bifactor model (root-mean-square-error of approximation = .065; Comparative Fit Index = .974; Tucker–Lewis Index = .958; standardised root mean square residual = .032). In addition, mediation analysis, using a non-parametric joint coefficient approach, revealed that tinnitus-specific acceptance partially mediated the relation between subjective tinnitus loudness and tinnitus distress (path ab = 5.96; 95% CI: 4.49, 7.69). In a multiple mediator model, tinnitus acceptance had a significantly stronger indirect effect than anxiety. The results confirm the factorial structure of the TAQ and suggest the importance of a general acceptance factor that contributes important unique variance beyond that of the first-order factors activity engagement and tinnitus suppression. Tinnitus acceptance as measured with the TAQ is proposed to be a key construct in tinnitus research and should be further implemented into treatment concepts to reduce tinnitus distress.