2013. Vol.4, No.11, 808-812
Published Online November 2013 in SciRes (
Open Access
Development of Deterministic Thinking Scale Based on Iranian
Jalal Younesi, Akram Alsadat Mirafzal
University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Received August 5th, 2013; revised September 6th, 2013; accepted October 7th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Jalal Younesi, Akram Alsadat Mirafzal. This is an open access article distributed under the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
One of major cognitive distortions is deterministic thinking. This type of thinking ignores any possibility
or probability in conclusion about the events. Any consequence of event may be thought such as: 2 × 2 =
4. Equality is a dominant factor among all conclusions of this kind of distortion. In Islamic perspective,
the distortion is seen as a destructive factor for ruining balance of fear and hope, which is to be an impor-
tant sign of people’s faith. The distortion emerges in cognitive rigidity in the mind which may be mother
of all distortions. Cognitive rigidity is a main reason for depression and other psychosocial maladjustment.
The scale with 36 items was developed in first phase of this study. Its validity and reliability were meas-
ured among men and women. It had reasonable and significant correlation with Beck Depression Inven-
tory (p .05) and also showed reasonable internal reliability (α = .8218). Through factor analysis, five
factors appeared in this type of thinking to be related to General deterministic thinking, Deterministic
thinking in interaction with people, Absolute view in thinking, Deterministic thinking in prediction of fu-
ture and Deterministic thinking in negative events.
Keywords: Deterministic Thinking; Cognitive Distortions; Balance of Fear and Hope; Islamic Culture;
Plato’ idealism insists that our perceptions determine the re-
ality that we experience.
This reminds us the “Plato’s Cave”, which is reality to be de-
fined as the figures that one sees outside the cave (Leahy, 1996).
The approach that “reality is determined by cognition” has a
long history in Western philosophy. For example, Kant’s
(1782/1988) philosophy of mind was based on the view that
reality is never directly knowable, but rather is “known”
through “categories of thinking” (Leahy, 1987). According to
Kant, all knowledge was based on the “categories”, which to-
day we would call schemas, and the reality was never directly
knowable but only to know through the schemas. This is not a
notion which merely to be stated in western philosophy because
there are same points from religious perspective. For instance,
Prophet Mohammad (S) wishes in his praying “may Allah show
me the reality as it is” (Younesi, 2005; Younesi, Asgary, & Ba-
hrami, 2009). Human being is sometimes described remote-
ness from the reality in Quran as “being arrogant when to see
himself needless” (Quran, 95; 6,7) while “only the god is need-
less” (Quran, 112; 2). In point of psychopathology, how people
think about themselves or the world around them seems to
make a major difference to their level of vulnerability to stress,
anxiety and depression. This is more than simply being opti-
mistic or pessimistic—there are certain thinking methods which
help people to cope better than others (Warner, 2000). It is rea-
sonable to see cognitive therapy as the attempt to get the patient
to unchain himself from inappropriate cognitions and to see
the reality as it is (Beck, 2008; Beck et al., 1979; Leahy, 1996).
These wrong cognitions are named cognitive distortions. They
are inaccurate thoughts or ideas which to maintain negative
thinking and help to maintain negative emotions. The theory of
cognitive distortions was first proposed by Burns (1989). Elimi-
nating these distortions and negative thought is said to improve
mood and discourage maladies such as depression and chronic
anxiety (Beck, 1983). There are many cognitive distortions which
have a major role in forming depression and anxiety (Beck et
al., 1979; Beck et al., 1983; Burns, 1989; Teasdale, 1993; Teas-
dale & Bernard, 1993; Clarck & Fairburn, 1997; Smit, Rosen-
field, & Mcdonald, 2006; Del Missier, Ferrante, & Costantini,
2007). Some of these distortions include (Sommers-Flanagan
2004; Leahy, 1996): Arbitrary Inference, Selective Abstraction,
Personalization, Dichotomous Thinking, Labeling and mislabe-
ling, Magnification and minimization, overgeneralization, etc.
One of major cognitive distortions is deterministic thinking
(Younesi & Mirafzal, 2007). This type of thinking ignores any
possibility or probability in conclusion about the events and to
be able to create many cognitive distortions because any distor-
tion leads to conclusion; and distortion of deterministic thinking
to rule out any probability or possibility in concluding (Younesi,
Younesi, & Asgary, 2008).
Any consequences of events may be thought such as: 2 × 2 =
4. Equality is a dominant factor among all conclusions of this
kind of thought, i.e.: divorcing from wife = misery. The distor-
tion emerges in cognitive rigidity in the mind and may be mo-
ther of all distortions (Younesi, 2005). Cognitive rigidity is a
main reason for depression and other psychosocial maladjust-
ment (Beck, 1980; Weissar & Beck, 1992).
In religious perspective, which is sometimes essential to be
considered in cognitive therapy for some people (Sommers-
Flanagan, 2004), this distortion is seen as destructive factor for
ruining balance of fear and hope (Younesi, 2005; Younesi &
Mirafzal, 2007) because any exception for consequences of bad
or good events is to be ruled out by deterministic thinking.
There is an strong comment from most important religious
leaders of Islam for keeping the balance of fear and hope as
sign of faith and mental health (for example: Imam Ali (S),
ground sons of great prophet Mohammad <s> (Al tamimi Al
madi & Abdolvahed, 1979; Faizol Al Islam & Alinaghi, 1973;
Koleini & Seghet Al Islam, 1980). In prediction of consequenc-
es of favourite or undesirable events, any deterministic thinking
about the events has been rejected in Holy Quran: “sometimes
undesirable event may bring you luck and sometimes desired
one to bring you un luck” (Quran, 2, 216). So being too disap-
pointed or too hopeful in relation with the events, either posi-
tive or negative is not accepted in this perspective. Since pre-
diction of any event is not certainly possible in this view, even
prediction of “god’s will” is not promising in Shiite perspective
(Arafeh praying, Imam Hossein <S>, Ghommi, 1989). This
view is called “bada” in Shiite belief which means everything
can be initiated from beginning. There is a sentence in Islamic
culture which is widely used by people in western and eastern
countries when to confront with events, that is: “Insha Allah”
means “If the God Wants”. The sentence is in opposite direc-
tion of deterministic thinking because any consequence of
events to come back to will of God which god only to know
(Younesi, 2005). Similarly in scientific approach, accepting or
rejecting hypothesis by P value of zero is avoided in spite of
possessing firm experimental reasons. The main reason for the
approach is that some scientists believe in no absolute reality
which can be imperfect because our perception of events and
realities to be not from beginning or final state.
Creatures and events are identified partially from not initi-
ating or ending (Jaafari, 1982): “You don’t aware of what to be
gradually creating in world of creature.” (Quran, 16, 8). “What
are in the earth or sky to request from god and every day he to
be in position of creating” (Quran, 55, 29). In this philosophy,
creation is not finished and to be expected new creation so in
this ongoing job to be not possible prediction of life’s events
Development of an instrument which can be able to measure
the rate of deterministic thinking based on religious perspective
and Islamic culture to be the aim of the study. Measuring of de-
terministic thinking is milestone for studying the nature of de-
pression and anxiety or other maladjustment (Younesi, 2005).
Material and Method
Based on characteristics of balance in fear and hope and
comments of religious leaders (above references) and charac-
teristics of cognitive rigidity (Beck, 1980; Weissar & Beck, 1992),
items of deterministic thinking scale were developed. First of
all 52 items were made which to refer to prediction of the
events and behaviors. The items include: Behaviors of people in
future i.e.: “Behaviors and reactions of people will be predicted
Positive and negative events in future i.e.: “in spite of solid
reasons, nobody can predict bad and good events of life defi-
Forgiveness such as: “It is sensible to forgive bad behaviors
of individuals when we do not believe the behaviors to be
repeated certainly”.
Behaviors of couples such as: “if somebody has behaved
well frequently with his/her partner, he/she will do certainly
as the same as before”.
Will of God such as: “Nothing is certain in this world, even
God’s will; because it is possible to change the God’s will
by praying”.
Future of human beings i.e.: “If human beings have more
knowledge, they will able to predict events of life abso-
lutely positive”.
Social relationship: “Certain conclusion from reactions and
behavior of people is one of major pathology in social rela-
The content validity of the Scale was approved by five ex-
perts including: Clinical Psychologist, Psychometric, expert in
Islamic Knowledge, counselor and psychologist with profession
in Islamic culture.
The instrument is responded by four options: I agree totally, I
agree partially, I disagree totally, I disagree partially. Beck’ de-
pression Inventory (BDI) [Beck 1968] is utilized for measure-
ing the congruent validity. 97 men and women were examined
by the scale and BDI in a pilot study who were collected ran-
domly in Tehran. Using factor analysis, RISREL and other sta-
tistical analysis, reliability and validity of the scale were meas-
ured and necessary modifications to be implemented. Moreover
600 men and women randomly involved in a main study who to
be questioned by developed deterministic thinking scale.
Table 1 demonstrates demographic data of subjects in pilot
Table 2 shows the results of Pearson correlation between
Deterministic thinking scale (DTS) and BDI:
After measuring reliability, 14 items were omitted from the
scale in pilot study and reliability coefficient 38 items of the
scale was .8218. Two items of DTS were removed by RISREL
DTS was computed by Principal Component Analysis.
The results of Component analysis shown in Table 3:
Five factors emerged in the scale with 36 items which were
named based on contents of the items:
1) General deterministic thinking (9 items)
2) Deterministic thinking in interaction with people (8 items)
3) Absolute view in thinking (7 items)
4) Deterministic thinking in prediction of future (6 items)
5) Deterministic thinking in negative events (6 items)
In additional study 50 subject including 25 men and same
number women answered DTS by one week interval in Tehran.
The Reliability over time of the scale was (r = .87; p .5).
DTS was reanalyzed by factor analysis in the main study
which 300 couples to answer the scale. The results showed
Table 1.
The demographic data of subjects in pilot study.
Age of subjects (mean)Single Male MarriedFemale
50 47 31.6 (SD 10.67) 47 50
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Table 2.
The results of Pearson correlation between DTS and BDI.
Number of subjects DTS BDI
97 1 .33*
Note: *(p .01)-two tailed.
Table 3.
The results of component analysis in the study.
Initial Eigen values
Cum% % of V Total Components
14.725 14.725 5.596 1
22.593 7.867 2.990 2
28.849 6.257 2.378 3
34.272 5.423 2.061 4
38.865 4.592 1.745 5
repeatedly five factors to exist in DTS and to possess signifi-
cant factorial loading. In Table 4, statistical characteristics of
discovery and confirmatory factor analysis of DTS were shown.
The results show that DTS to enjoy good reliability and va-
lidity. The congruent validity of scale which emerged with
Beck Depression Inventory to show reasonable correlation (./33,
p .01 ). This finding has harmony with views of many psy-
chologists and cognitive therapists who to insist on role of cog-
nitive distortions as main factor of developing depression (Gert-
ner, 2003; Baron, 2000; Rottenstreich & Hsee, 2001; Leahy,
1996; Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2004; Beck,
2008; Beck, Epstein, & Harrison, 1983; Teasdale, 1993). More-
over it was predictable to see such correlation between two in-
struments because of similarities between deterministic think-
ing and cognitive rigidity (Younesi, 2005). In other hand, it is
clear that Cognitive rigidity to be a main reason for depression
and other psychosocial disorders (Beck, 1975; Weissar & Beck,
1992). In another study, Younesi, Asgary, & Bahrami (2008)
found significant negative correlation between Enrich marital
satisfaction inventory and DTS. It seems that deterministic
thinking as a cognitive distortion to be devastating factor either
in depression or marital relationship of couples.
It is apparent that cognitive distortions to have eminent role
in decreasing of marital satisfaction (Klaff, 2007; Shapiro, 2007;
Gottman, Coan, Carrère, & Swanson, 1998; Fincham, Harold,
& Gano-Philips, 2000).
Momeni (2008) measured sensitivity of DTS among happy
and unhappy couples who to request the family court for di-
vorce. He found significant and reasonable sensitivity of DTS
for distinguishing these two groups of couples.
Results of factor analysis appeared five factors which to con-
firm either main or pilot study. First factor as a general one
counts 14.725 of variance and to include 9 items. These items
measure the whole view of subjects towards life in angel of
determinism, i.e.: “if humans are not able to conclude certainly
about life events, the anarchy and chaos will rule on the life”.
Second factor which counts 7.86 of variance and to refers to
Deterministic thinking in interaction with people to contain 8
items, i.e.: “It is always possible to have precise prediction
from actions and behaviors of people”. Third factor which is
related to absolute view in thinking consisting of 7 items and to
count 6.26 of variance, i.e.: “if a person behaved badly with
somebody, he/she will certainly repeat it again.” The fourth
factor is named Deterministic thinking in prediction of future to
comprise 6 items and counting 5.42 of variance, i.e.: “It is pos-
sible to predict behaviors and reactions of people definitely.”
Finally, fifth factor is named Deterministic thinking in negative
events and to take account 6 items, counting 4.59 of variance,
i.e.: “if some bad events happen in the life, it is equal of big
It seems that DTS to be able to measure different angles of
deterministic thinking. This characteristic of the scale corre-
sponds with variety roles of cognitive distortions which to have
negative impact psychosocial life of people (Baron, 2000; Rot-
tenstreich & Hsee, 2001; Warner, 2000; Smit, Rosenfield, &
Mcdonald, 2006).
There are some similarities between items of factors involved
in DTS and some cognitive biases which to be found by some
authors. For instance, cognitive bias of focusing effect is simi-
lar with items of factor 5 & 3. The focusing effect is a cognitive
bias that occurs when people place too much importance on one
aspect of an event, causing an error in accurately predicting the
utility of a future outcome. People focus on notable differences,
excluding those that are less eye-catching, when making predic-
tions about happiness or handiness (Del Missier, Ferrante, &
Costantini, 2007; Schkade & Kahneman, 1998). Also some au-
thors suggested the neglect of probability bias, a type of cogni-
tive bias, is the tendency to completely disregard probability
when making a decision under uncertainty and is one simple
way in which people regularly violate the normative rules for
decision making Baron, 2000; Rottenstreich & Hsee, 2001).
This bias is comparable with some items of DTS in factors 2 &
4 which to ignore any probability in conclusions.
One of the unique features of DTS which makes it different
from other scales of measuring cognitive distortions, to con-
sider principal of balancing between fear and hope (Al tamimi
Al madi & Abdolvahed, 1979; Faizol Al Islam & Alinaghi,
1973; Koleini & Seghet Al Islam, 1980; Younesi, 2005; You-
nesi & Mirafzal, 2007). So, there was an attempt to measure de-
terministic thinking either positive or negative events in deve-
lopment of the items of the scale.
The author and his colleagues were studied relation between
deterministic thinking (DT) and mental health, communicatio-
nal skills and marital satisfaction. The results showed that to
exist the negative correlation between DTQ and communica-
tional skills among couples (Maghsoudzade, 2010); reverse cor-
relation between DTQ and forgiveness scale (Borooghani,
2010); negative correlation between DTQ and Enrich Marital
Satisfaction Scale (Younesi & Bahrami, 2009), negative corre-
lation between DTQ and hope scale (Rah Anjam, 2010) and po-
sitive correlation between DTQ and marital conflicts scale (Mo-
meni, 2008). These researches indicate that DT plays a destruc-
tive role the interactions of people in family and society cir-
cumstances, addressing DT in cognitive therapy can help cli-
ents to reduce their anxiety and depression (Younesi, Younesi,
& Asgary, 2008).
It is suggested that the role of DT in producing social phobia
and hopelessness and helplessness as milestones of depression
e investigated. Moreover it is suggested to investigate between b
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Table 4.
Statistical characteristics of discovery and confirmatory factor analysis of DT.
Discovery Confirmatory
Factors Special value Percent of value Reliability coefficientStandard coefficientT R2
First 4/68 13/01 0/71 0/37 4/68 0/14
Second 3/42 9/51 0/61 0/24 4/68 0/10
Third 1/79 4/98 0/70 0/52 4/68 0/38
Fourth 1/55 4/31 0/59 0/52 4/68 0/38
Fifth 1/49 4/16 0/64 0/48 4/68 0/23
Note: X2 = 2/51; p = 0/28; KMO = 0/793; Bartlett test = 3867/8; CFI = 0/99; GFI = 0/99; p = 0/001; AGFI = 0/21; RMSEA = 0/99.
attachment style, and DT to be carried out in future.
The author would like to thanks the research section of Uni-
versity of Social welfare and rehabilitation Sciences for funding
this study in phase 1 & 2.
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