Thought Control Questionnaire (TCQ)

Developed as a measure of recurrent thinking, the Thought Control Questionnaire (TCQ) tests subjects’ responses to unpleasant thoughts that they experience. It allows for research in developing techniques to control unpleasant and unwanted thoughts. Testing is based on five subscales: Distraction, Social Control, Worry, Punishment, and Re-appraisal.

The TCQ is a self-report questionnaire that consists of 30-items using a 4-point scale (1 = never to 4 = almost always). The score is the sum of each of the totals for the five subscales.


Wells & Davies, 1994

Validity and Reliability

According to studies conduct by Greg J. Siegle, Stuart R. Steinhauer, Cameron S. Carter, and Michael E. Thase (University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine), the Thought Control Questionnaire had a calculated average internal consistency alpha rating of .73, making it a valid instrument. The correlation of the Thought Control Questionnaire scale with other instruments (RSQ, RNT, RNE, MRQ, ECQ) was .39 (Worry), .46 (Punishment), and .39 (Re-appraisel).

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Administration, Analysis and Reporting

Statistics Solutions consists of a team of professional methodologists and statisticians that can assist the student or professional researcher in administering the survey instrument, collecting the data, conducting the analyses and explaining the results.

For additional information on these services, click here.


Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects. New York: Hoeber. View

Matt, G. E. (in press). Generalizability theory. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Baltes (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Amsterdam: Pergamon/Elsevier.

Siegle, G. J. (2000, submitted). Convergence and divergence in self-report measures of rumination and its relationship to depressive symptomatology.

Wegner, D. M., & Zanakos, S. (1994). Chronic thought suppression. Journal of Personality, 62, 615-640.

Wells, A. & Davies, M. I. (1994). The thought control questionnaire: A measure of individual differences in the control of unwanted thoughts. Behaviour Research and Therapy 32, 871-878.

Dissertations and Journal Abstracts

Holeva, V., Tarrier, N., & Wells, A. (2001). Prevalence and predictors of acute stress disorder and PTSD following road traffic accidents: Thought control strategies and social support. Behavior Therapy, 32(1), 65-83.

Ree, M. J., Harvey, A. G., Blake, R., Tang, N. K. Y., & Shawe-Taylor, M. (2004). Attempts to control unwanted thoughts in the night: Development of the thought control questionnaire-insomnia revised (TCQUI-R). Behavior Research and Therapy, 43(8), 985-98.

Abramowitz, J. S., Whiteside, S., Kalsy, S. A., & Tolin, D. F. (2002). Thought control strategies in obsessive-compulsive disorder: A replication and extension. Behavior Research and Therapy, 41(5), 529-40.

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