Worry and depressive rumination have both been described as unproductive, repetitive thought which contributes to anxiety or depression, respectively. It was hypothesized that repetitive thought, rather than its specific forms, is a general concomitant of negative mood. Study 1 was a cross-sectional test of the hypothesis. Repetitive thought was positively correlated with anxiety and depression in students (n = 110). In patients (n = 40), repetitive thought was positively correlated with anxiety and depression, and rumination was also specifically correlated with depression. Study 2 was a prospective test of the hypothesis. In students (n = 90), there were significant cross-sectional relationships between repetitive thought and both anxiety and depression. In addition, repetitive thought at least partially predicted maintenance of anxious symptoms. Phenomena such as goal interruption, failures of emotional processing, and information processing may lead to repetitive thought which increases negative mood states, including both anxiety and depression.
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Segerstrom, S.C., Tsao, J.C.I., Alden, L.E. et al. Worry and Rumination: Repetitive Thought as a Concomitant and Predictor of Negative Mood. Cognitive Therapy and Research 24, 671–688 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005587311498