Confirming the Factor Structure and Validity of the Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS) in Youth

Niza A. Tonarely, Jill Ehrenreich-May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Distress tolerance (DT) is an individual’s ability to handle uncomfortable emotion states or sensations (Simons and Gaher in Motiv Emot 29(2): 83–102, 2005). DT is associated with heightened risk for psychopathology, including internalizing symptoms. However, little research has examined the feasibility of assessing DT via youth self-report. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the psychometric properties of the Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS) (Simons and Gaher in Motiv Emot 29(2): 83–102, 2005) in community (n = 117; ages 10–19; 56.4% female) and clinical samples (n = 165; ages 10–18, 52.7% female) of youth. Predictors of DT and its association with internalizing symptoms were investigated. The majority of fit indices confirmed a four-factor hierarchical structure for the clinical sample data. Females reported lower DT than males and DT was associated with internalizing symptoms. Validation of the factor structure of the DTS allows for investigation of child and adolescent-reported perceptions of DT as a risk factor for psychopathology in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-526
Number of pages13
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Child
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Distress tolerance
  • Internalizing disorders
  • Transdiagnostic risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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