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BACKGROUND: Mental imagery of the future has clear clinical importance, although little is known about intrusive, prospective imagery of personally-relevant events. Currently, no measure is available to assess this. AIMS: The Impact of Future Events Scale (IFES) was created to assess the impact of intrusive, prospective, personally-relevant imagery. It was examined in relation to predictions about dysphoria. METHOD: To form the IFES, the IES-R (a measure of the impact of a past traumatic event on posttraumatic stress disorder symptomatology such as intrusive re-experiencing) was adapted item-by-item to assess intrusive "pre-experiencing" and imagery of specific, future events. Participants (N = 75) completed the IFES and assessments of depression, anxiety and general imagery use. RESULTS: As predicted, the IFES significantly and positively correlated with depression scores. Analyses using subgroups of non-dysphoric and mild-dysphoric participants confirmed that the mild-dysphoric group reported significantly higher IFES scores, indicating higher levels of pre-experiencing of the future and related hyperarousal and avoidance. CONCLUSIONS: IFES provides a measure of the impact of "pre-experiencing" in the form of intrusive prospective, personally-relevant imagery, with sensitivity to group differences on the basis of depression scores. Further research is required to extend these finding into clinical depression and other psychopathological conditions.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Cogn Psychother

Publication Date





201 - 209


Adult, Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorder, Female, Forecasting, Humans, Imagination, Male, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Severity of Illness Index, Surveys and Questionnaires