Distress Tolerance: Theory, Measurement, and Relations to Psychopathology

Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2010 Dec 1;19(6):406-410. doi: 10.1177/0963721410388642. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


In this article we present the theoretical and empirical bases of distress tolerance research. Although distress tolerance offers a promising lens through which to better understand various psychological symptoms and disorders, further theoretical development and empirical inquiry is needed to promote our understanding of the construct. Overall, a number of questions regarding its theoretical conceptualization and measurement, associations with related constructs and psychopathology, and role(s) in therapeutic change and intervention remain unanswered. Directions for future research are discussed to stimulate further empirical study on this theoretically and clinically promising topic.

Keywords: assessment; distress tolerance; mechanism; psychopathology; vulnerability.