ERIC Number: EJ787696
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Constructive and Unconstructive Repetitive Thought
Watkins, Edward R.
Psychological Bulletin, v134 n2 p163-206 Mar 2008
The author reviews research showing that repetitive thought (RT) can have constructive or unconstructive consequences. The main unconstructive consequences of RT are (a) depression, (b) anxiety, and (c) difficulties in physical health. The main constructive consequences of RT are (a) recovery from upsetting and traumatic events, (b) adaptive preparation and anticipatory planning, (c) recovery from depression, and (d) uptake of health-promoting behaviors. Several potential principles accounting for these distinct consequences of RT are identified within this review: (a) the valence of thought content, (b) the intrapersonal and situational context in which RT occurs, and (c) the level of construal (abstract vs. concrete processing) adopted during RT. Of the existing models of RT, it is proposed that an elaborated version of the control theory account provides the best theoretical framework to account for its distinct consequences.
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Behavioral Science Research, Physical Health, Anxiety, Depression (Psychology), Adjustment (to Environment), Health Behavior, Cognitive Structures
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A