Appraisal styles for adverse life events: An examination of the Adversity Appraisal Questionnaire.

Stephanie Gusler, Yo Jackson, Casey A. Pederson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Appraisals (i.e., subjective interpretations) of adverse events may help explain variability in the connection between adversity exposure and negative mental health outcomes. However, there are multiple limitations to existing measurement tools of adversity appraisals, such as tools being highly specific, making it difficult to consistently assess for adversity appraisals across research studies or identify appraisal styles across experiences. The current study examined the Adversity Appraisal Questionnaire (AAQ) and its utility in the examination of patterns in appraisal across multiple adverse events. Data came from 161 adults who participated in a larger federally funded project. Participants were recruited from an urban midwestern city, and the majority of participants identified as African American women. Using multilevel exploratory factor analysis, a two-factor within and between-individual factor structure, representing positive appraisals and trauma appraisals, was indicated. To assess these two factors as appraisal styles, reliability and validity analyses were conducted on the between-individual factor structure. Initial support for the reliability and concurrent validity of these two appraisal styles were found. Results indicated that the AAQ can be used to examine adversity appraisal styles, across multiple adverse events, and that these appraisal styles are associated with emotion regulation difficulties and a wide array of psychological symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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