Positive and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts (PANERT) scale

Author of Tool: 

Brenner, R.E. and Vogel, D.L.

Key references: 

Brenner, R. E., & Vogel, D. L. (2015). Measuring thought content valence after a breakup: Development of the Positive and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts (PANERT) scale. Journal of counseling psychology, 62, 476-487. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cou0000073

Primary use / Purpose: 

The PANERT measures the extent to which individuals think about positive and negative memories after a romantic relationship breakup. The PANERT consists of two subscales, Positive Ex-Relationship Thoughts and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts.

Background: 

People often think about their relationship after it ends. Previously, most studies of romantic relationship breakups assumed that people only think about negative memories from their ex-relationship. The authors proposed that individuals also think about positive memories after a breakup, and that thinking about positive memories can also make it difficult to move on from a breakup. They created the PANERT, a 12-item measure, to examine this.

In the scale development paper, results indicated that people think about positive memories and negative memories after a breakup, and that these should be measured as two separate subscales. The Positive Ex-Relationship Thoughts and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts subscales were each uniquely positively associated with adverse outcomes of breakup distress, loss of self-concept, negative emotional adjustment, relationship preoccupation, and depression in a college student sample. Interestingly, the two factors were related to adaptive adjustment constructs in opposite directions, where the Positive Ex-Relationship Thoughts subscale was inversely associated with rediscovery of self and positive emotional adjustment, and the Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts subscale was generally positively associated with these outcomes.

Psychometrics: 

Brenner and Vogel (2015) developed the 12-item Positive and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts (PANERT) scale across four samples. In Sample 1 (n = 475), exploratory factor analyses demonstrated a multidimensional scale with two factors: Positive Ex-Relationship Thoughts and Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts. This factor structure was confirmed in a college sample (n = 509) and a community sample (n = 291). Internal consistencies ranged from .88 to .94 for Positive Ex-Relationship Thoughts and from .87 to .94 for Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts. In Sample 4 (n = 133), construct validity was supported, with the PANERT factors uniquely predicting breakup distress, relationship preoccupation, depression, loss of self-concept, rediscovery of self-concept, negative emotional adjustment, and positive emotional adjustment.

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