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Wahl, Karina; Ehring, Thomas; Kley, Hanna; Lieb, Roselind; Meyer, Andrea; Kordon, Andreas; Heinzel, Carlotta V.; Mazanec, Martin; Schönfeld, Sabine (2019): Is repetitive negative thinking a transdiagnostic process? A comparison of key processes of RNT in depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and community controls. In: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, Vol. 64: pp. 45-53
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Background and objectives: The transdiagnostic view of repetitive negative thinking (RNT) claims that different forms of RNT are characterized by identical processes that are applied to disorder-specific content. The purpose of the study was to test whether the processes of RNT differ across major depression disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Methods: Forty-two individuals diagnosed with MDD, 35 individuals with GAD, 41 individuals with OCD, and 35 community controls were asked to think of a typical RNT episode and to rate its processes (core processes;use of mental capacity, unproductivity, abstractness, verbal quality, duration). Ratings were compared across groups using planned contrasts and analysis of variance. Results: All individuals with a clinical diagnosis rated the key processes of RNT and avoidance function of RNT as higher than healthy controls. There were no differences between individuals diagnosed with MDD, GAD or OCD on key processes and avoidance function of RNT. Limitations: Results are based on retrospective self-reports, which might restrict validity of the measurements. Conclusions: Data support the transdiagnostic hypothesis of RNT. Transdiagnostic prevention and intervention techniques seem highly recommendable given these findings.