The Sensitivity to Punishment and Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire (SPSRQ) as a measure of Gray's anxiety and impulsivity dimensions

Rafael Torrubia, César Ávila, Javier Moltó, Xavier Caseras

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817 Citations (Scopus)


Gray [In H. J. Eysenck, A model for personality (pp. 246-276). New York: Springer; 1981; The neuropsychology of anxiety: an enquiry into the functions of the septo-hippocampal system. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1982] has described two motivational systems, the Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS) and the Behavioural Activation System (BAS), that control aversive and appetitive behaviour, respectively. Research on Gray's model of personality has been hindered by the lack of specific self-report measures of the reactivity and responsivity of these systems. We describe a set of studies that illustrate the main psychometrical characteristics of the Sensitivity to Punishment and Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire (SPSRQ). The two scales of the questionnaire were developed by writing items to assess BIS and BAS functioning, respectively. Results showed that both scales were independent, and presented satisfactory internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Studies 2-5 reported data related to convergent and discriminant validity of the scales. The Sensitivity to Punishment scale was: (1) positively related to Eysenck's neuroticism dimension; (2) negatively related to extraversion; (3) not related to psychoticism; (4) significantly related to the STAI-Trait scale of Spielberger; and (5) related to the somatic, behavioral, and cognitive anxiety scales of Lehrer and Woolfolk [Behavioral Assessment, 4, (1982) 167-177.]. The Sensitivity to Reward scale was: (1) positively related to Eysenck's extraversion and neuroticism; (2) moderately related to psychoticism; (3) positively related to the Eysenck's Impulsiveness scale [Psychological Reports, 43, (1978) 1247-1255] and the Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scales [Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 46, (1978) 139-149]. Although future construct validity studies are needed, discussion is. focused on the importance of using specific designed measures to evaluate and develop Gray's model. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-862
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2001


  • Anxiety
  • Behavioural activation system
  • Behavioural inhibition system
  • Gray's model
  • Impulsivity
  • Sensitivity to punishment
  • Sensitivity to reward
  • Spsrq


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