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Perseverative Cognition, Psychopathology, and Somatic Health

  • Bart Verkuil
  • Jos F. Brosschot
  • Winifred A. Gebhardt
  • Julian F. Thayer
Chapter

Abstract

Perseverative cognition (PC), such as worry and rumination, is a common reaction to stressful events in everyday life. According to the PC hypothesis, prolonged cognitive representations of stressful events will increase the total amount of time that these events have a “wear and tear” effect on the human body. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the role that PC plays in the onset and maintenance of stress related mental and somatic health problems. Furthermore, we propose that unconscious PC, traditionally studied within the context of psychopathology, might have substantial somatic health relevant effects as well. Finally, we present a self-regulation perspective on PC and propose that it forms part of the default response to threat, novelty and ambiguity. This default response is enhanced in chronic worriers who show excessive commitment to their goals, use PC as a strategy to cope with possible threats to goal attainment and have difficulties to recognize signals of safety. In conclusion, research on the PC hypothesis has provided valuable insight into the link between stressful events, psychopathology, and somatic health.

Keywords

Stressful Event Neutral Word Emotion Regulation Strategy Health Complaint Somatic Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgment

This writing of this chapter was financially supported by grants from The Ohio State University, Department of Psychology.

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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bart Verkuil
    • 1
  • Jos F. Brosschot
  • Winifred A. Gebhardt
  • Julian F. Thayer
  1. 1.Clinical, Health and Neuropsychology UnitLeiden University, Institute of PsychologyLeidenNetherlands

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