Skip to main content

Catastrophizing/Catastrophic Thinking

  • Reference work entry

Synonyms

Arbitrary inference

Definition

Catastrophizing refers to the anticipation without evidence of extreme and terrible consequences or outcomes of an event. Catastrophizing is a characteristic type of cognitive distortion or error that may underlie a negative and inaccurate thought (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979; Clark, Beck, & Alford, 1999). It can have negative health consequences for individuals who are managing a chronic illness. For example, a recent cancer survivor may interpret his fatigue as meaning that he will never recover his usual energy level and that he will have to give up all of his meaningful activities. This type of thinking can maintain negative emotions such as depression and lead to adverse or unhelpful behaviors such as poor medical adherence.

Cross-References

Cognitive Distortions

Negative Thoughts

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_163
  • Chapter length: 1 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   1,399.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4419-1005-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout

References and Readings

  • Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clark, D. A., Beck, A. T., & Alford, B. A. (1999). Scientific foundations of cognitive theory and therapy of depression. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lara Traeger .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media, New York

About this entry

Cite this entry

Traeger, L. (2013). Catastrophizing/Catastrophic Thinking. In: Gellman, M.D., Turner, J.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_163

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_163

  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4419-1004-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4419-1005-9

  • eBook Packages: MedicineReference Module Medicine