Assessment of self-reported negative affect in the NIH Toolbox

Paul A. Pilkonis*, Seung W. Choi, John M. Salsman, Zeeshan Butt, Tara L. Moore, Suzanne M. Lawrence, Nicholas Zill, Jill M. Cyranowski, Morgen A.R. Kelly, Sarah S. Knox, David Cella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We report on the selection of self-report measures for inclusion in the NIH Toolbox that are suitable for assessing the full range of negative affect including sadness, fear, and anger. The Toolbox is intended to serve as a "core battery" of assessment tools for cognition, sensation, motor function, and emotional health that will help to overcome the lack of consistency in measures used across epidemiological, observational, and intervention studies. A secondary goal of the NIH Toolbox is the identification of measures that are flexible, efficient, and precise, an agenda best fulfilled by the use of item banks calibrated with models from item response theory (IRT) and suitable for adaptive testing. Results from a sample of 1763 respondents supported use of the adult and pediatric item banks for emotional distress from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) as a starting point for capturing the full range of negative affect in healthy individuals. Content coverage for the adult Toolbox was also enhanced by the development of a scale for somatic arousal using items from the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire (MASQ) and scales for hostility and physical aggression using items from the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-97
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 30 2013


  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Item response theory
  • Measurement
  • Sadness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of self-reported negative affect in the NIH Toolbox'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this