Stephen Hooper

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

David Shiek, Clinton Layne, Lois Layne


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Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study was designed in an effort to create a measure of rationality in children. To accomplish this, the Common Belief Inventory for Students (CBIS) was developed, and the basic psychometric properties of the scale were investigated. The CBIS was formulated within Ellis's conceptual framework of Rational Behavior Therapy, and specific questions were developed from Ellis's 11 Common Irrational Beliefs (Ellis, 1962). Designed to be useful from the fourth grade to the twelfth grade, the CBIS was constructed to yield a total irrationality score as well as scores for each of the 11 individual irrational ideas.

Subjects taking part in this study included 1,226 fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students from elementary schools in the south central Kentucky area. The subjects ranged in age from nine to 15. The CBIS was administered to all 1,226 students, of which 488 were included in the experimental group and 738 were included in the control group. Students in the experimental group were exposed to one hour of RBT each week for six weeks, and at the conclusion of the six sessions, the posttest was administered. The control group was also given the posttest, but these students did not engage in an RBT program.

Means, standard deviations, and item-total correlations were computed for each item on the CRIS, as well as for each of the 11 irrational belief components. The reliability of the CBIS and each of its belief components was investigated by the Guttman and test-retest procedures. The predictive validity of the instrument was investigated by comparing the changes experienced in the experimental group versus those experienced in the control group. Structural validity of the total test and for each belief component was determined by a factor analysis procedure. Raw scores for the total test and for each belief were transformed into standard score units.

The results indicated that the majority of the items were reliable indicators of the total test score and for the belief scores. The belief components were also found to be reliable indicators of the total test score. The reliability of the CBIS was maintained at an adequate level The predictive validity of the CBIS indicated that the instrument was sensitive to the RBT construct, further substantiating the construct validity of the CRIS; however, the structural validity of the CRIS was not supported at an empirical level.

It was concluded that in its present form the CBIS is an adequately reliable instrument in identifying irrationality in school age children. Recommendations for improvements in the scale and further research are discussed.


Child Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences