MOCS (Measure of Current Status)

Together with Mike Antoni and a number of other people, I have been involved for several years in research on the effects of a multi-modal cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention on the psychosocial well-being of breast cancer patients. An important question is whether the intervention's beneficial effects have several sources or one principle source.  In order to probe for possible "active ingredients" behind the intervention’s effects, I developed a brief measure, which I called the Measure of Current Status, or MOCS. 

The MOCS has two sections. Part A is items measuring participants' current self-perceived status on several skills that are targeted by the intervention: the ability to relax at will, recognize stress-inducing situations, restructure maladaptive thoughts, be assertive about needs, and choose appropriate coping responses as needed. Part B assesses potential "nonspecific effects" of the intervention: feelings of normalcy vs. alienation, sense of cohesiveness with other patients, perceptions of care from persons around them, and a sense of being better off than other cancer patients. All items were framed in such a way that they are sensible to participants in both conditions.  Using these items, we have obtained evidence that the effects of the intervention are mediated by confidence about being able to relax at will (see article below by Antoni et al., 2006).

Antoni, M. H., Lechner, S. C., Kazi, A., Wimberly, S. R., Sifre, T., Urcuyo, K. R., Phillips, K., Gluck, S., & Carver, C. S. (2006). How stress management improves quality of life after treatment for breast cancer. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 1143-1152. [abstract]

Proper citation at present is as follows:

Carver, C. S. (2006). Measure of Current Status.

Here are the 2 parts of the measure, followed by scoring information.


People have different levels of various skills for responding to the challenges and demands of everyday life.  The following items list several things that people are able to do--to a greater or lesser degree--to deal with daily stresses.  For each item, indicate how well you currently can do what it describes.  Please don't indicate what you think you should be able to do, or what you wish you could do.  Be as accurate as you can in reporting your degree of confidence about being able to do each of these things.  Choose from the following responses:

        0 = I cannot do this at all       
        1 = I can do this just a little bit       
        2 = I can do this a medium amount   
        3 = I can do this pretty well       
        4 = I can do this extremely well   

1. I am able to use muscle relaxation techniques to reduce any tension I experience
2. I become aware of any tightness in my body as soon as it develops
3. I can clearly express my needs to other people who are important to me
4. I can easily stop and re-examine my thoughts to gain a new perspective
5. It's easy for me to decide how to cope with whatever problems arise
6. I can easily recognize situations that make me feel stressed or upset
7. When problems arise I know how to cope with them
8. I notice right away whenever my body is becoming tense
9. It's easy for me to go to people in my life for help or support when I need it
10. I am able to use mental imagery to reduce any tension I experience
11. I am confident about being able to choose the best coping responses for hard situations
12. I can come up with emotionally balanced thoughts even during negative times
13. I can ask people in my life for support or assistance whenever I need it

Part B

People who are dealing with treatment for cancer have many different perceptions and reactions.  The following items list several kinds of reactions that people sometimes have.  For each item, indicate how much you currently agree or disagree with what the item says.  Please don't tell us what you think your perceptions and reactions should be, or what you wish they were.  Be as accurate as you can in reporting your degree of agreement or disagreement with each statement.  Choose from the following responses:

        0 = Strongly Disagree
        1 = Mostly Disagree
        2 = Neutral--neither agree nor disagree
        3 = Mostly Agree
        4 = Strongly Agree

1. Knowing that I've been diagnosed with cancer makes me feel like an outsider in life.
2. I'm receiving a lot of positive attention from the people around me
3. I feel strange knowing that I’ve been treated for cancer
4. I'm better off than most people who have cancer
5. People are making it known to me that they care about my situation and support me
6. I feel a bond to other breast cancer patients
7. The fact that I've been treated for cancer makes me feel different from other people.
8. I definitely feel as though people care about my well being
9. I feel a sense of connection to other people who have cancer
10. Most people who have cancer have life a lot harder than I do

Scales are computed as follows:

Part A

Relaxation:  items 1, and 10
Awareness of tension:  items 2, 6, and 8
Assertiveness:  items 3, 9, and 13
Coping confidence:  items 4, 5, 7, 11, and 12

Part B

Feeling cared for:   items 2, 5, and 8
Normalization:   items 1, 3, and 7 --all reverse coded
Downward comparison:  items  4 and 10
Bonding:  items 6 and 9


Carver Home

Measures Available
University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology