The eACS: Attentional control in the presence of emotion

Tom J. Barry, Dirk Hermans, Bert Lenaert, Elise Debeer, James W. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


We present a questionnaire - The Emotional Attentional Control Scale (eACS) - An adaptation of the original Attentional Control Scale (ACS) that assesses the voluntary control of attention. A low score on the ACS has been associated with high levels of anxiety and depression. As the ACS items are affectively neutral, some people scoring high on the ACS may still show low levels of attentional control (AC) in more emotionally-demanding situations. We propose that the eACS, which focuses on the emotional modulation of AC, may explain additional variance in AC deficits associated with psychopathology. The eACS showed one general factor for emotional AC. Both the ACS and eACS showed a negative correlation with trait anxiety (STAI-T) and depressive symptoms scores (BDI-II). In regression analyses, when accounting for the shared variance between the STAI-T and BDI-II, both the eACS and ACS explained independent variance in STAI-T scores (β= -23, and β= -15, p < .001, respectively).The eACS has clear benefit in measuring AC deficits that are associated with psychopathology. Individual differences in AC in emotionally-demanding situations could be an important, and as yet underappreciated, aspect of psychopathology. Recommendations for future research are given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-782
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a research programme of the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO) and by the Center of Excellence on Generalization Research (GRIP∗TT; University of Leuven Grant PF/10/005 ). We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the FWO to Dr. Griffith (GP.035.11N). Tom J. Barry and Bert Lenaert are research assistants for the FWO.


  • Anxiety
  • Attention
  • Bifactor model
  • Depression
  • Emotion
  • Factor analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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