Metacognition Questionnaire-30 (MCQ-30)


The MCQ-30 is a short version of the original MCQ and assesses individual differences in five factors important in the metacognitive model of psychological disorders. In particular, unhelpful metacognitions may contribute to obsessive and compulsive symptoms, pathological worry and underpin trait anxiety. The five subscales of the MCQ-30 are: cognitive confidence, positive beliefs about worry, cognitive self-consciousness, negative beliefs about uncontrollability of thoughts and danger, and beliefs about the need to control thoughts.

The MCQ-30 as a scale has good internal consistency, as do its five subscales (Wells & Cartweight-Hatton, 2004). In the adult community sample (n=182) the measure demonstrated convergent validity by showing positive correlations to obsessive and compulsive symptoms, pathological worry and trait anxiety. Four out of the five subscales also show good test-retest reliability, with the “negative beliefs about uncontrollability of thoughts and danger” subscale the exception.

Subscale scores range from 6 to 24, and total scores range from 30 to 120, with higher scores indicating higher levels of unhelpful metacognitions (for example, high scores on “cognitive confidence” indicates distrust of memory and other unhelpful beliefs about their cognition). Results are also presented as percentiles based on a normative community sample (Wells & Cartweight-Hatton, 2004).

Subscales are calculated by summing the following items:

  • (Lack of) Cognitive Confidence: 8, 14, 17, 24, 26 and 29
  • Positive Beliefs about Worry: 1, 7, 10, 19, 23 and 28
  • Cognitive Self-Consciousness: 3, 5, 12, 16, 18 and 30
  • Negative Beliefs about Uncontrollability and Danger: 2, 4, 9, 11, 15 and 21
  • Need to Control Thoughts: 6, 13, 20, 22, 25 and 27

Wells, A., & Cartwright-Hatton, S. (2004). A short form of the metacognitions questionnaire: Properties of the MCQ-30. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42(4), 385-396. doi:10.1016/S0005-7967(03)00147-5

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