Objective: Our study has validated the Automatic thoughts Questionnaire among Syrian multiple sclerosis patients. The Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire-18 item-Multiple Sclerosis-Arabic has included both the version of the 8-item Negative Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire and 10 positive items from the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire-Revised.
Method: A total of 65 Syrian multiple sclerosis patients have been recruited in Damascus Hospital and Ibn Alnafees Hospital for validation of Automatic Thought Questionnaire-18 item-Multiple Sclerosis-Arabic.
Results: The internal consistency reliability (alpha>0.70) and the split-half reliability were very good. Exploratory factor analysis (accounted for 72.28% of total variance) indicated 3 factors for the Automatic Thought Questionnaire-18 item-Multiple Sclerosis-Arabic: negative thought, positive thought (emotional), and positive thought (cognitive). The Negative Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire was positively related to depression, stress and anxiety (p<0.01), and negatively related to self-esteem and life satisfaction (p<0.01). The Positive Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire subscale score was negatively related to depression, stress and anxiety (p<0.05), and positively related to self-esteem and life satisfaction (p<0.01).
Conclusion: This study is the first research that examines the positive and negative cognitions in multiple sclerosis patients and confirms the internal and external validity of the Automatic Thought Questionnaire-18 item-Multiple Sclerosis-Arabic. This study suggested that an examination of both the positive and negative dimensions of thoughts contribute to understanding of the depression in multiple sclerosis. Clinical implications: The validation of a tool (Automatic Thought Questionnaire-18 item-Multiple Sclerosis-Arabic) has three important clinical implications: deposit a valid research instrument in multiple sclerosis. Ability to evaluate two style of thinking, negative and positive and study their role in the initiation, maintenance and treatment of depression in multiple sclerosis patients. Automatic Thought Questionnaire-18 item-Multiple Sclerosis- Arabic minimizes the diagnostic false for evaluate the depression in multiple sclerosis patients. Examination of both the positive and negative dimensions of cognition might contribute to a greater understanding of the psychopathology of depression in multiple sclerosis.