The Problem Solving Inventory (PSI)

The PSI assesses an individual's awareness and evaluation of his or her problem-solving abilities or style, thus provides a global of that individual as a problem solver.The PSI is a self-reported measure . The PSI consists of 35 six-point Likert items (with 3 filler questions), which constitute 3 factors: Problem-Solving Confidence, Approach-Avoidance Style, and Personal Control. The questions were constructed by the authors as face valid measures of each of the five problem-solving stages, based on a revision of an earlier problem-solving inventory. The items were randomly ordered and written to contain an equal number of positive and negative statements about problem solving. Low scores indicate behaviors and attitudes typically associated with successful problem solving.


Responsible Decision Making,
Self Awareness,
Self Management

Self/Inhibitory Control, Failure Avoidance, Confidence, Problem Solving

Post secondary

Administration Information

10-15 minutes

The PSI should be administered and interpreted by professionals who have expertise in testing and knowledge about problem solving, and have normative information about the PSI.


Access and Use


Not indicated

Use in Research

Dugas, M. J., Letarte, H., Rhéaume, J., Freeston, M. H., & Ladouceur, R. (1995). Worry and problem solving: Evidence of a specific relationship. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 19(1), 109-120.

Heppner, P. P., & Anderson, W. P. (1985). The relationship between problem-solving self-appraisal and psychological adjustment. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 9(4), 415-427.

Huang, Y., & Flores, L. Y. (2006). Exploring the validity of the Problem-Solving Inventory with Mexican American high school students. Journal of Career Assessment, 19(4), 431-441.

Ladouceur, R., Blais, F., Freeston, M. H., & Dugas, M. J. (1998). Problem solving and problem orientation in generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 12(2), 139-152.

Nezu, A. M. (1986). Cognitive appraisal of problem solving effectiveness: Relation to depression and depressive symptoms. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42(1), 42-48.<42::AID-JCLP2270420106>3.0.CO;2-2


Manual scoring
Psychometric References

D'Zurilla, T. J., & Nezu, A. M. (1990). Development and preliminary evaluation of the Social Problem-Solving Inventory. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2(2), 156-163.

Heppner, P. P., & Petersen, C. H. (1982). The development and implications of a personal problem-solving inventory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 29(1), 66-75.

Maydeu-Olivares, A., & D'Zurilla, T. J. (1997). The factor structure of the Problem Solving Inventory. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 13(3), 206-215.

Sahin, N., Sahin, N. H., & Heppner, P. P. (1993). Psychometric properties of the problem solving inventory in a group of Turkish university students. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 17(4), 379-396.

Item Type

Psychometric Considerations

Psychometrics is the science of psychological assessment. A primary goal of EdInstruments is to provide information on crucial psychometric topics including Validity and Reliability – essential concepts of evaluation, which indicate how well an instrument measures a construct - as well as additional properties that are worthy of consideration when selecting an instrument of measurement.

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