Self-assessment of patterns of subjective experience: development and psychometric study of the States of Mind Questionnaire


States of mind are forms of subjective experience that involve cognitions, emotions, needs, desires and physical sensations, subjectively, some charged with emotional suffering and some charged with well-being. This study presents a new questionnaire designed of States of Mind Questionnaire (SMQ), focused on the self-assessment of recurring patterns of subjective experience. We first review the literature leading to the development of SMQ and then we investigate its psychometric properties. We conducted an exploratory factor analysis (EFA), internal reliability, inter-correlations between subscales, test-retest reliability, convergent and divergent validity. Finally, we explored the relationship between states of mind and symptoms. The sample was composed of 427 individuals (M age=32; SD=11.49). EFA did not showed a theoretically coherent structure. Internal consistency was good for the 24 subscales (Cronbach’s α of 0.62 to 0.96) and test-retest reliability was adequate. States of mind converged and diverged with maladaptive schemas and predicted symptomatology. Overall results indicate that SMQ may be a valuable tool to help clinicians and patients to assess different and diverse states of mind. However, more research it is required to explore and enhance SMQ psychometric properties in non-clinical clinical groups and in psychotherapy outcomes.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Arntz, A., Klokman, J. & Sieswerda, S. (2005). An experimental test of the schema mode model of borderline personality disorder. Journal of Behavior Therapy, 36: 226-239.

Bamelis, L.L.M., Renner, F., Heidkamp, D., & Arntz, A. (2011) Extended schema mode Conceptualizations for specific personality disorders: an empirical study. Journal of Personality Disorders, 25, (1), 41-58. DOI:

Bannister, D. (Ed.). New perspectives in personal construct theory. New York: Academic, 1977.

Carcione, A., Semerari, A., Dimaggio, D., & M., Nicolo. (2005). States of mind and metacognitive dysfunctions are different in the various personality disorders: a reply to Ryle. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. 12, 367-373. DOI:

Canavarro, M. C. (1999). Inventário de sintomas psicopatológicos – BSI. In M. R. Simões, M. Gonçalves, L. S. Almeida (Eds.), Testes e Provas Psicológicas em Portugal (Vol. II, pp.95-109). [Inventory of psychopathological symptoms]. Braga: APPORT/SHO.

Conceição, N. & Vasco, A. B. (2005). Olhar para as necessidades do Self como o boi olha para um palácio: Perplexidades e Fascínio. [Look at the needs of the Self as the ox looks at a palace: Perplexities and Fascination]. Psychologica. 40, 11-36.

Derogatis, L. R. (1993). BSI: Brief symptom inventory (3rd edn.). Minneapolis: National Computers Systems.

Dimaggio, G., Semerari, A., Carcione, A., Nicolo, G., & Procacci, M. (2007). Psychotherapy of personality disorders:

Metacognition, states of mind and interpersonal cycles. London: Routledge.

Dimaggio, G., Nicolò, G., Fiore, D., Centenero, E., Semerari, A., Carcione, A., & Pedone, R. (2008). States of minds in narcissistic personality disorder: Three psychotherapies analyzed using the grid of problematic states. Psychotherapy Research. 18(4), 466-480. DOI:

Dimaggio, G., Montano, A., Popolo, R., & Salvatore, G. (2015). Metacognitive interpersonal therapy for personality disorders: A treatment manual. London, UK: Routeledge. DOI:

Enders, C. K. (2010). Applied Missing Data Analysis. New York, NY: The Guildford Press.

Faustino, B., Fonseca, I., Antonio, A. B., Baião, M., Lopes, P., & Oliveira (2019). Esquemas Precoces Mal-adaptativos e Dificuldades Emocionais na Regulação das Necessidades Psicológicas: Um estudo com indicadores comportamentais. [Early Maladaptive Schemas and Emotional Difficulties on Regulation of Psychological Needs: A study with behavioral indicators]. Revista de Psicossomática, 4, 15-22.

Faustino B. (2020). Transdiagnostic perspective on psychological inflexibility and emotional dysregulation. Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy, 1-14. Advance online publication. DOI:

Faustino, B., & Vasco, A. B. (2020a). Schematic functioning, interpersonal dysfunctional cycles and cognitive fusion in the complementary paradigmatic perspective: Analysis of a clinical sample. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 1(50), 47-55. DOI:

Faustino, B., & Vasco, A. B. (2020b). Early maladaptive schemas and cognitive fusion on the regulation of psychological needs. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 1(50), 105-112. DOI:

Faustino, B., & Vasco, A. B. (2020c). Relationships between emotional processing difficulties and early maladaptive

schemas on the regulation of psychological needs. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy.Advance online publication.

Feixas, G., Geldschläger, H., Neimeyer, R. A. 2002. Content analysis of personal constructs. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 15, 1-20.

Fredrickson, B. L., & Joiner, T. (2002). Positive emotions trigger upward spirals toward emotional well-being. Psychological Science. 13, 172-175. DOI:

Garland, E. L., Fredrickson, B., Kring, A. M., Johnson, D. P., Meyer, P. S., & Penn, D. L. (2010). Upward spirals of positive emotions counter downward spirals of negativity: Insights from thebroaden-and-build theory and affective DOI:

neuroscience on the treatment of emotion dysfunctions and deficits in psychopathology. Clinical Psychology Review, 16.

Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion focused therapy: distinctive features. The CBT distinctive features series. London; New York: Routledge. DOI:

Glenn, T., & Monteith, S. (2014). Privacy in the digital world: medical and health data outside of HIPAA protections. Current psychiatry reports, 16(11), 494. DOI:

Greenberg, L. S. (2015). Emotion-focused therapy: coaching clients to work through their feelings. 2º ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Greenberg, L. S. (2017). Emotion-Focused Therapy: Revisioned Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI:

Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (2011). Acceptance and commitment therapy: the process and practice of

mindful change (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Horowitz, M. J. (1987). States of mind: configurational analysis of individual psychology. (2nd ed). New York: Plenum


Horowitz, M. J. (1991). States, schemas, and control: General theories for psychotherapy integration. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 1, 85-102. DOI:

John, O. P., & Gross, J. J. (2007). Individual Differences in Emotion Regulation. In J. J. Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (pp. 351-372). The Guilford Press.

Kelly, G. A. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs: A theory of personality. London: Routledge.

Liotti, G. & Gilbert, P. (2011). Mentalizing, motivation, and social mentalities: theoretical considerations and implications for psychotherapy. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 84: 9-25.

Lobbestael, J., van Vreeswijk, M., & Arntz, A. (2008). An empirical test of schema mode conceptualizations in personality disorders. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 854-860. DOI:

Lobbestael, J., van Vreeswijk, M., Spinhoven, P., Schouten, E., & Arntz, A. (2010). Reliability and validity of the short schema mode inventory (SMI). Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 38, 437-458. DOI:

Neimeyer, R.A., & Mahoney, M.J. (eds). (1995). Constructivism in psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI:

Pereira, M. B. (2009). Inventário de Modos Esquemáticos: Estudos psicométricos e da dimensionalidade da escala. Dissertação de Mestrado não publicada. Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra. [Inventory of Schematic Modes: Psychometric and scale dimensional studies].

Pestana, M. & Gageiro, J. (2008). Análise de dados para Ciências Sociais - A complementaridade do SPSS (5ª ed). [Data analysis for Social Sciences - The complementarity of SPSS]Lisboa: Edições Sílabo.

Pollock, P. H., Broadbent, M., Clarke, S., Dorrian, A., & Ryle, A. (2001). The Personality Structure Questionnaire (PSQ): A measure of the Multiple Self States Model of identity disturbance in Cognitive Analytic Therapy. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 8(1), 59–72. DOI:

Rijo, D. (2009). Esquemas mal-adaptativos precoces: Validação do conceito e dos métodos de avaliação. Coimbra: Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra.

Rijo, D. (2017). O questionário de esquemas de Young (YSQS3). In Gonçalves, M., Simões, M. R., & Almeida, L. (Eds.), Psicologia clínica e da saúde: instrumentos de avaliação (pp. 159-173). Lisboa: PACTOR.

Ryan, R.B., Kumar, V.K. & Wagner, K. (2015). The personality beliefs questionnaire-short-form: relationship of personality disorders schemata with entitlement and dysfunctional thoughts. Current Psychology, 34, 239-247. DOI:

Ryle, A., & Kerr, I. (2002). Introducing cognitive analytic therapy. Principles and practice. Chichester: Wiley. DOI:

Ryle, A. (2005). Cognitive analytic therapy. In J. C. Norcross & M. R. Goldfield (Eds.), Oxford series in clinical psychology. Handbook of psychotherapy integration (pp. 196-217). New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press. doi: DOI:

Semerari, A, Carcione, A., Dimaggio, G., Falcone, M., Nicolò, G., Procacci, M., Alleva, G., Mergenthaler E. (2003). Assessing problematic states inside patient’s narratives. The Grid of Problematic Conditions. Psychotherapy Research, 13(3), 337-353. DOI:

Siegel, D. J. (2012). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. (2nd ed.). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

Steyer, R., Mayer, A., Geiser, C., & Cole, D. A. (2015). A theory of states and traits--revised. Annual review of clinical psychology, 11, 71-98. DOI:

Vasco, A. B. (2001). Fundamentos para um modelo integrativo de “complementaridade paradigmática”. [Fundamentals for an integrative model of “paradigmatic complementarity”]. Psicologia, XV (2), 219-226.

Vasco, A. B., Conceiç~ao, N., Silva, A. N., Ferreira, J. F., & Vaz-Velho, C. (2018). O (meta)modelo de complementaridade paradigmática (MCP). In I. Leal (Ed.), Psicoterapias. Lisbon:Pactor. [Paradigmatic Complementarity Metamodel].

Walker, B.M. & Winter, D.A. (2007). The elaboration of personal construct psychology. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 453-477. DOI:

Young, J. E. (1999). Cognitive therapy for personality disorders: A schema-focused approach (3rd ed.). FL: Professional Resources Press.

Young, J. E., Klosko, J. S., & Weishaar, M. E. (2003). Schema Therapy. A practitioner’s guide. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

States of mind, questionnaire, psychometrics, construct validity, symptomatology.
  • Abstract views: 404

  • PDF: 74
How to Cite
Faustino, B., Branco Vasco, A., Dimaggio, G., Nunes da Silva, A., & Seromenho, S. (2021). Self-assessment of patterns of subjective experience: development and psychometric study of the States of Mind Questionnaire. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 23(3).

Most read articles by the same author(s)