Common rather than unique aspects of repetitive negative thinking are related to depressive and anxiety disorders and symptoms

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Volume 33, p.45-52 (2015)

Other Number:





transdiagnostic; repetitive thinking; rumination; worry; anxiety; depression


Repetitive Negative Thinking (RNT) is assumed
to be a transdiagnostic factor in depressive and anxiety disorders. We
hypothesized that an underlying common dimension of RNT will be more strongly
associated with each of the anxiety and depressive disorders, with comorbidity
among disorders and with symptom severity than unique aspects of rumination and
worry. In a cross-sectional study, 2143 adults diagnosed according to DSM-IV
criteria completed questionnaires for content-independent RNT, rumination and
worry. 84% of the shared variance of worry and rumination overlapped with
content-independent RNT. The common dimension of RNT was significantly
associated with each of the depressive and anxiety disorders, comorbidity among
emotional disorders and the common core of depressive, anxiety and avoidance
symptoms. The unique portion of rumination showed a significant relationship
with Major Depressive Disorder and depressive comorbidity and the unique
portion of worry with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These findings are
particularly relevant for clinical practice as generic interventions to reduce
RNT are currently being tested.