Repetitive Negative Thinking

Repetitive negative thinking (e.g., rumination; RNT) is a transdiagnostic process of increasing interest in theoretical models of psychopathology and in empirical study. My research into RNT in complex psychiatric samples has been broadly based, including the study of measure psychometrics, potential mechanisms underlying RNT, and how RNT often mediates treatment outcomes. For example, although the Ruminative Responses Scale (RRS) has been suggested as a two-factor measure of rumination in student samples, factor analyses of the RRS in psychiatric samples have suggested other factor solutions. We therefore conducted a two-sample study of the RRS, including both psychiatric and unselected student samples, and found that a one-factor model best fit the data in the psychiatric sample, as well as the student sample. In addition, we found support for the hypothesis that impaired attentional control underlies rumination (i.e., the impaired disengagement hypothesis). Finally, in two separate studies we have found that changes in repetitive negative thinking mediate the relationship between changes in either self-compassion or dysfunctional attitudes with changes in depression and anxiety symptoms

Relevant work

  • Wadsworth, L.P., Forgeard, M., Hsu, K.J., Treadway, M., Kertz, S., & Björgvinsson, T. (in press). Changes in self-compassion and repetitive negative thinking predict symptom improvement in a severe clinical population. Cognitive Therapy and Research.
  • Hsu, K.J., Beard, C., Rifkin, L., Dillon, D.G., Pizzagalli, D.A., & Björgvinsson, T. (2015). Transdiagnostic mechanisms: the association between attentional control, rumination, and clinical symptomatology. Journal of Affective Disorders, 188: 22-27. Doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.08.008
  • Hsu, K.J., Kertz, S., Stevens, K., Petersen, D., Sigurjonsdottir, O., Beard, C., & Björgvinsson, T. (2019). Reflection reconsidered: A psychometric study of the Ruminative Responses Scale in a transdiagnostic psychiatric population and an unselected student population. Manuscript in submission.
  • Hsu, K.J., Stein, A., Forgeard, M.J.C., Rifkin, L.S., Beard, C., & Björgvinsson, T. (2019). Examining the relationship between reductions in dysfunctional thinking on depression and anxiety symptom reduction in an intensive CBT setting: the role of rumination. Manuscript in preparation.

Kean J. Hsu
Research Assistant Professor

My research interests include basic cognitive processes (e.g., attention and executive functioning), repetitive negative thinking, and emotional disorders.