To investigate the cognitive characteristics that affect the emotional and functional distress caused by tinnitus and to decide and test the model to explain their relations, 167 patients with tinnitus, who visited Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea between March 2001 and May 2002 were recruited. To examine their features related to tinnitus, the following scales were administered; Tinnitus-related basic questionnaire including dysfunctional beliefs, Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Anxious Thought and Tendencies, Self-Consciousness Scale, and modified 'catastrophic thought' from Coping Strategies Questionnaire. The results showed that the duration of experiencing tinnitus was 4.7±7.1 yr, those who com-plained of hearing one sound were the most common (45.5%), and hearing sounds similarly described to whistling were the most common (22.5%). Also, there were significant correlations among tinnitus features, cognitive characteristics, and distresses from tinnitus. As a result of testing the model, Normed fit index, Incremental fit index, Tucker-Lewis index, and Comparative fit index were over .90, indicating that it is a good model, and Root mean square error of approximation showed a reasonable fit. Also, the direct effects of the trait or severity of tinnitus on distress did not appear to be significant, thus it appeared to be affecting indirectly through the cognitive characteristics. This result shows that cognitive interventions can be important for the psychological adaptations of tinnitus patients.
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