Repetitive thinking in social anxiety disorder

are anticipatory processing and post-event processing facets of an underlying unidimensional construct?

Quincy J. J. Wong*, Peter M. McEvoy, Ronald M. Rapee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Existing literature suggests that anticipatory processing and post-event processing—two repetitive thinking processes linked to social anxiety disorder (SAD)—might be better conceptualized as facets of an underlying unidimensional repetitive thinking construct. The current study tested this by examining potential factor structures underlying anticipatory processing and post-event processing. Baseline data from two randomized controlled trials, consisting of 306 participants with SAD who completed anticipatory processing and post-event processing measures in relation to a speech task, were subjected to confirmatory factor analysis. A bifactor model with a General Repetitive Thinking factor and two group factors corresponding to anticipatory processing and post-event processing best fit with the data. Further analyses indicated an optimal model would include only the General Repetitive Thinking factor (reflecting anticipatory processing and a specific aspect of post-event processing) and Post-event Processing group factor (reflecting another specific aspect of post-event processing that is separable), providing evidence against a unidimensional account of repetitive thinking in SAD. Analyses also indicated that the General Repetitive Thinking factor had moderately large associations with social anxiety and life interference (rs =.43 to.47), suggesting its maladaptive nature. The separable Post-event Processing group factor only had small associations with social anxiety (rs =.16 to.27) and was not related to life interference (r =.11), suggesting it may not, in itself, be a maladaptive process. Future research that further characterises the bifactor model components and tests their utility has the potential to improve the conceptualisation and assessment of repetitive thinking in SAD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-581
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior Therapy
Volume50
Issue number3
Early online date18 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • social anxiety
  • anticipatory processing
  • post-event processing
  • repetitive thinking
  • bifactor model

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