Open Access Research article

The negative affect repair questionnaire: factor analysis and psychometric evaluation in three samples

Anne Scherer1*, Nicole Eberle1, Maren Boecker1, Claus Vögele2, Siegfried Gauggel1 and Thomas Forkmann1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Hospital of RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstraße 19, Aachen, 52074, Germany

2 Research Group Self-Regulation and Health, Research Unit INSIDE, University of Luxembourg, Route de Diekirch - B.P. 2, Walferdange, 7220, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:16  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-16

Published: 9 January 2013



Negative affect and difficulties in its regulation have been connected to several adverse psychological consequences. While several questionnaires exist, it would be important to have a theory-based measure that includes clinically relevant items and shows good psychometric properties in healthy and patient samples. This study aims at developing such a questionnaire, combining the two Gross [1] scales Reappraisal and Suppression with an additional response-focused scale called Externalizing Behavioral Strategies covering clinically relevant items.


The samples consisted of 684 students (mean age = 23.3, SD = 3.5; 53.6% female) and 369 persons with mixed mental disorders (mean age = 36.0 SD = 14.6; 71.2% female). Items for the questionnaire were derived from existing questionnaires and additional items were formulated based on suggestions by clinical experts. All items start with “When I don’t feel well, in order to feel better…”. Participants rated how frequently they used each strategy on a 5-point Likert scale. Confirmatory Factor Analyses were conducted to verify the factor structure in two separate student samples and a clinical sample. Group comparisons and correlations with other questionnaires were calculated to ensure validity.


After modification, the CFA showed good model fit in all three samples. Reliability scores (Cronbach’s α) for the three NARQ scales ranged between .71 and .80. Comparisons between students and persons with mental disorders showed the postulated relationships, as did comparisons between male and female students and persons with or without Borderline Personality Disorder. Correlations with other questionnaires suggest the NARQ’s construct validity.


The results indicate that the NARQ is a psychometrically sound and reliable measure with practical use for therapy planning and tracking of treatment outcome across time. We advocate the integration of the new response-focused strategy in the Gross’s model of emotion regulation.

Affect regulation; Emotion regulation; Mood regulation; Psychometric quality