The Valuing Questionnaire (VQ: Smout et al. 2014) is a 10-item self-report scale designed to measure how consistently an individual has been living with their self-determined values and is particularly helpful when administered during a course of ACT.
Values are personal principles someone has chosen to guide their behaviour. Articulation of self-defined values is a core component of ACT-like therapies, and this scale is best used in conjunction with and subsequent to this process in therapy. The VQ measures “valuing”, which refers to actions one takes to live in accordance with values, rather than simply pleasant outcomes or satisfaction with life.
It measures two constructs:
1. Progress, defined as enactment of values, perseverance, and including clear awareness of what is personally important.
2. Obstruction, which reflects the disruption of valued living due to avoidance of unwanted experience, distraction from values by inattention to values or undue attention to distress.
While developing the measure, Smout et al (2014) conducted factor analyses that supported a 2-factor solution in undergraduate university student (n= 630) and clinical adult (n= 285) samples. The clinical sample was from an outpatient CBT treatment clinic in Australia. There was a negative correlation (r=-.66) between the two factors.
As one would expect, there was a pattern of different responding between the normative undergraduate sample and the clinical sample.
For the Progress Subscale, scores were significantly lower in the clinical sample (M=12.8, SD=7.91) compared with the university sample (M=17.2, SD=6.44).
The clinical sample had higher scores on the Obstruction subscale (M=18.9, SD=6.49) compared to the university sample (M=12.1, SD=6.88), indicating the clinical sample had more problems living consistently with their values.
In the same study concurrent validity was established via comparison with the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), the Valued Living Questionnaire (VLQ), and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ-II).
Scoring and Interpretation
Two subscale scores are presented, Progress and Obstruction, which typically have a negative correlation.
— Progress (items, 3, 4, 5, 7,9. Range = 0 to 30) defined as enactment and perseverance in living consistently with one’s values. Higher scores represent a closer alignment between one’s internal values and one’s actions.
— Obstruction (items 1, 2, 6, 8, 10. Range = 0 to 30) represents the extent to which various disruptions got in the way of valued living. Higher scores represent more interference with living consistently with one’s values.
Scores indicative of psychological health are high scores on the Progress scale accompanied by low scores on the Obstruction scale.
As well as raw scores being presented, percentile ranks compared to an undergraduate university sample and a clinical sample are presented. A percentile of 50 on the clinical sample on each subscale represents a typical score for people presenting to outpatient psychology clinics.
When used as a monitoring tool during a course of ACT, successful treatment is indicated by increasing Progress Scores and decreasing Obstruction Scores.
Smout, M., Davies, M., Burns, N., & Christie, A. (2014). Development of the valuing questionnaire (VQ). Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 3(3), 164-172.