Repetitive thinking (RT) has been defined as prolonged, recurrent thought about oneself and one’s experiences. Recent studies have shown that various measures of RT load onto a common factor and predict symptoms of depression and anxiety. The relationship with mania symptoms, however, remains underexplored. The current study examined the common versus unique variance across a wide range of measures of RT, and the relationship between measures of RT and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mania.
Participants (N = 2088) were recruited from the United States, Australia, and the Netherlands. Participants were administered various measures of RT and measures of depression, anxiety, and mania symptoms.
Single and bifactor models were examined. A bifactor model—accounting for both a common factor and unique variance within each measure—explained the data well, indicating that disorder specific measures of RT can be combined to measure a higher order RT factor. The common factor also significantly correlated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and mania.
Our findings indicate that combining measures of RT can help public health researchers predict not only depression and anxiety, but also symptoms of mania.