ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 3, 314-328, 2014
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Abstract Thinking about Negative Events in Dysphoric Students Leads to Negative Generalization

  Jens Van Lier - KU Leuven
  Bram Vervliet - KU Leuven
  Koen Vanbrabant - KU Leuven
  Bert Lenaert - KU Leuven
  Filip Raes - KU Leuven

Volume 5, Issue 3, 2014, Pages 314-328

The severity of many psychological disorders is associated with an increasing amount of different stimuli or situations that elicit a maladaptive response. This is known as the process of (over)-generalization and is often characteristic of individuals with emotional disorders. Recently, abstract repetitive thought has been proposed to be a transdiagnostic marker in several disorders (e.g., worry in anxiety; rumination in depression). The present study examined the impact of an abstract thinking style (compared to a more concrete thinking style) as a mechanism that contributes to generalization. Students (N = 83) were trained in either an abstract or concrete thinking mode and then completed a learning phase and finally a generalization test phase. High dysphoric students showed more negative generalization in the abstract condition compared to the concrete condition. For low dysphoric participants, the two thinking styles did not result in a difference in generalization. Implications for the transdiagnostic value of an abstract processing style in depression and anxiety are discussed.

Table of Contents
  Training materials for abstract and concrete processing mode (Moberly & Watkins, 2006).
  Generalization paradigm
  Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire (PTQ; Ehring, Zetsche, Weidacker, Wahl, Sch√∂nfeld & Ehlers, 2011)
  Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS 21)
 Data Analysis
 Participant Characteristics
 Generalization Test
 Negative Generalization
 Neutral Generalization

Correspondence to
Jens Van Lier, Centre for the Psychology of Learning and Experimental Psychopathology , University of Leuven , Tiensestraat 102, B - 3000 Leuven.

Rumination; Worry; Abstract Repetitive Thinking; Generalization; Transdiagnostic

Received 22 Aug 2013; Revised 10 Jun 2014; Accepted 20 Jun 2014; In Press 21 Nov 2014

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