Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Research suggests rumination and worry, which have typically been considered as strongly linked to depression and anxiety, respectively, may be better conceptualized through a transdiagnostic construct. According to Ehring and colleagues (2011), a construct broader than worry or rumination might be considered as Repetitive Negative Thinking. Ehring notes three key characteristics of repetitive negative thinking: the thinking is repetitive; it is at least partly intrusive; and it is difficult to disengage from. Two additional features include: individuals perceive it as unproductive and it captures mental capacity. This working definition of these five features formed the basis for the initial development and validation of the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire (Ehring, Zetsche, Weidacker, Wahl, Schönfeld, & Anke, 2011) which is intended to be a content-independent measure of RNT. The Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire includes 15 total items with three items for each of the assumed characteristics of repetitive negative thinking (repetitive, intrusive, difficult to disengage from, unproductive, and capturing mental capacity). The PTQ is designed to assess for a common process found not only in individuals with prominent worry (as seen in GAD) or rumination (as seen in depression) but also in other diagnoses such as obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. In its current state, the PTQ remains largely untested, leaving its utility in the changing field questionable. The current study intended to assess the psychometric quality of the PTQ to ensure its usefulness as a potential diagnostic tool and as a reflection of Ehring’s model of RNT. The current study administered the PTQ to a large and diverse group of college students located at a Midwestern university. Additional measures were administered to assess the psychometric properties of the measure. Construct and convergent reliability were demonstrated through comparison between the PTQ and the other measures. Unexpectedly, the PTQ and Cognitive Avoidance Questionnaire demonstrated a positive correlation, suggesting the measures are tapping into similar constructs. The factor structure of the PTQ was of particular interest in the current study. Further assessment of the factors reportedly contained in the PTQ was valuable, not just to assess the quality of the measure, but also because doing so would provide support for or undermine the proposed definition and key characteristics believed to underlie the construct of repetitive negative thinking. In this study, a two factor model was best supported for the current data, through Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis. This finding prompts further consideration and research for the construct of repetitive negative thinking.
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