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Most of the research on psychopathology has provided an incomplete picture of mental health by focusing on vulnerability factors and omitting the transversal processes that may explain human adapted functioning. Moreover, research has not sufficiently addressed prospective protective factors for mental health. New theoretical and empirical endeavors aim to incorporate this perspective, particularly in the realm of emotional disorders. A positive view of the future is an indispensable process in attaining desired goals and wellbeing. Openness to the Future is a construct characterized by positive affectivity towards the future, which can be a protective factor for mental health. Although some scales assess future orientations, the complexity of this concept has not yet been captured; therefore, there is a need for new instruments. This study presents the development and validation of a scale for measuring Openness to the Future in clinical (n = 412) and community (n = 890) samples.
Psychometric properties of the OFS were analyzed using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Item Response Theory (IRT) analyses, establishing cut-off points to better classify these two groups. Moreover, convergent and discriminant validity were examined by correlating the OFS with theoretically related constructs.
Results support a unidimensional structure and indicate that the items function similarly across clinical and community samples. Moreover, the Openness to the Future scale shows good convergent and discriminant validity.
These findings suggest that the Openness to the Future scale is a valid and brief measure of openness to the future for use with clinical and community samples, and it could help to fill a gap in the literature regarding attitudes towards the future and their implications. Openness to the Future is presented as an empirically feasible and theoretically consistent construct that includes both prospective and protective factors in the psychopathological chart.