Evaluation of the Factor Structure and Content Specificity of the Interpretation Bias Task (IBT)

Frederick H.F. Chan, Keisuke Takano, Jennifer Y.F. Lau, Tom J. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Theories suggest that interpretation biases play a role in the aetiology of a range of psychopathology including depression, anxiety and psychosis. We evaluate the psychometric properties of an adapted version of an ambiguous scenario task (i.e., Interpretation Bias Task [IBT]) that assesses benign and negative interpretations in four domains: immediate bodily injury; long-term illness; social rejection; and, performance failure. Methods: The factor structure of the IBT was evaluated in a student sample (N = 237) in Study 1, and subsequently confirmed in a community sample with a wider age range (N = 1103) in Study 2. Correlations between interpretation biases and health and social anxiety symptoms were tested in both studies. Results: The four IBT domains were differentiable and each was represented by two factors (i.e., benign vs. negative). In Study 1, higher health anxiety was characterised by fewer benign interpretations for injury- and illness-related scenarios, whereas higher social anxiety was associated with more negative and fewer benign interpretations for social rejection and performance failure scenarios. Correlational results were replicated in Study 2 for social anxiety, but not health anxiety. Conclusions: The IBT is suitable for measuring interpretation biases in Asian adults. The content specificity of interpretation biases was partially supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1224
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Content specificity
  • Factor analysis
  • Health anxiety
  • Interpretation bias
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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