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Browse » Collections » Tobacco Regulatory Research » Tobacco Regulatory Research - Host: Social/Cognitive » Distress Tolerance

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Measure: Distress Tolerance   #710700

Definition: The ability to persist in a goal-directed activity when experiencing psychological distress or ability to tolerate psychological distress in general. One measurement approach is time spent on a frustrating behavioral task (i.e., task persistence). Distress tolerance appears to be a relatively stable trait. Across measures, it has been found to be predictive of substance-use outcomes, including smoking cessation. Individuals who are low in distress tolerance may have greater difficulty in maintaining tobacco abstinence in the face of withdrawal and other challenges.

Purpose: The Mirror Tracing Persistence Task (MTPT) has discriminated between smokers and nonsmokers and has predicted smoking cessation outcomes. The original MTPT required the construction or purchase of a physical box with a slanted mirror one side. The participant inserts his or her hand and traces geometric figures while only watching the hand in the mirror. This is extremely difficult and frustrating. Persistence is scored as the mean time on several trials prior to giving up. The Computerized MTPT (MTPT-C) was developed to make the test more accessible, as it did not require the physical equipment. It has potential as a screening instrument to identify individuals at high risk of initiating smoking or of smoking cessation failure. To date, the MTPT-C has predicted treatment dropout among substance abusers, but it has not been tested with smokers per se.


Keywords: Mirror Tracing Persistence Task, MTPT-C, personality, distress, tolerance, distress tolerance

Measure Release Date: February 20, 2015

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