Measuring Volitional Competences: Psychometric Properties of a Short Form of the Volitional Components Questionnaire (VCQ) in a Clinical Sample

Simon Forstmeier1, *, Heinz Rüddel2
1 Department of Psychology, Division of Psychopathology and Clinical Intervention, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2 Psychosomatic Hospital St. Franziska-Stift, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

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© 2008 Forstmeier and Rüddel.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, Division of Psychopathology and Clinical Intervention, University of Zurich, Binzmuehlestr. 14/17, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland; Tel: ++41 (0)44 635 73 05; Fax: ++41 (0)44 635 73 19; E-mail:


Volitional competences (skills of will), including self-regulation skills such as self-motivation and emotion regulation and self-control skills such as impulse control, are particularly necessary for patients with psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders. The Volitional Components Questionnaire (VCQ) is an instrument designed to measure volitional competences. However, its length of 190 items prevents its routine application in clinical settings. This study evaluates a new 36-item short form of the VCQ. 1018 inpatients of a psychosomatic rehabilitation clinic completed the VCQ and several measures of psychopathology, personality, and cognitive ability. Exploratory factor analysis identified six factors. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that the VCQ-36 shared several volitional components with the original VCQ. Most of the self-regulation competences correlated negatively with psychopathological measures such as depression, as well as with neuroticism, social inhibitedness, and excitability, and positively with extraversion. Impulse control was also negatively associated with neuroticism and excitability. No meaningful correlation with cognitive ability was observed. The VCQ-36 is a reliable and valid instrument for assessing volitional competences and is well suited for routine application in clinical settings.