Psychological Vulnerability Scale (PVS)

The Psychological Vulnerability Scale (PVS) is a 6-item measure designed to identify individuals with cognitive patterns that render them more susceptible to stress. Items assessed by this scale capture the dependence on achievement or external sources of affirmation for one’s sense of self-worth.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adults


Consider how well the following statements describe your behavior and actions on a scale from 1 to 5. Please put an X through the number that best reflects your behavior.

1. If I don’t achieve my goals, I feel like a failure as a person.
2. I feel entitled to better treatment from others than I generally receive.
3. I am frequently aware of feeling inferior to other people.
4. I need approval from others to feel good about myself.
5. I tend to set my goals too high and become frustrated trying to reach them.
6. I often feel resentful when others take advantage of me or ignore my feelings.

Response Options:
Does not describe me at all - 1
Not labeled - 2
Not labeled - 3
Not labeled - 4
Describes me very well - 5

Scoring Procedures

A mean score of the items is calculated. All items in the scale are positive, indicating greater levels of psychological vulnerability with higher scores.

Original Citation

Sinclair, V. G., & Wallston, K. A. (1999). The development and validation of the Psychological Vulnerability Scale. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 23(2), 119-129.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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