BACKGROUND: The Cognitive Style Questionnaire is a valuable tool for the assessment of hopeless cognitive styles in depression research, with predictive power in longitudinal studies. However, it is very burdensome to administer. Even the short form is still long, and neither this nor the original version exist in validated German translations.
METHODS: The questionnaire was translated from English to German, back-translated and commented on by clinicians. The reliability, factor structure and external validity of an online form of the questionnaire were examined on 214 participants. External validity was measured on a subset of 90 subjects.
RESULTS: The resulting CSQ-SF-D had good to excellent reliability, both across items and subscales, and similar external validity to the original English version. The internality subscale appeared less robust than other subscales. A detailed analysis of individual item performance suggests that stable results could be achieved with a very short form (CSQ-VSF-D) including only 27 of the 72 items.
CONCLUSIONS: The CSQ-SF-D is a validated and freely distributed translation of the CSQ-SF into German. This should make efficient assessment of cognitive style in German samples more accessible to researchers.