Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science

Author ORCID Identifier

Jennifer Krafft:

Michael E. Levin:


Elsevier BV

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Cognitive fusion is a psychopathological process that appears to be relevant to a wide range of disorders. This process is frequently measured with the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire (CFQ). However, the construct validity of similar measures has been criticized for substantial overlap with distress. It is possible the CFQ may excessively measure the presence of unwanted thoughts, rather than fusion per se. Therefore, this study examined the discriminant validity of the CFQ relative to a measure of automatic negative thoughts (the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire) in a college student sample (n = 389). While the two measures were highly correlated (ρ = .74), exploratory factor analysis demonstrated that they consistently loaded onto separate factors. The CFQ also demonstrated incremental validity in predicting distress and anxiety over four weeks when controlling for baseline automatic negative thoughts. Overall findings are consistent with the CFQ measuring its intended construct, rather than the mere presence of negative thoughts. Major limitations to generalizability include the use of a college student sample with minimal racial and ethnic diversity, and the lack of additional comparator measures.

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