Difficulties in disengaging attentional resources from self-generated thoughts moderate the link between dysphoria and maladaptive self-referential thinking
Cogn Emot. 2011 Oct 5;
Rochat L, Billieux J, Van der Linden M
Negative emotions increase self-focused attention, a core feature of depression and anxiety-related disorders. However, the cognitive mechanisms associated with the tendency to self-focus-and, conversely, with the ability to voluntarily disengage attentional resources from the self and direct them towards the external environment-remain poorly understood. Thus, this study aimed to examine whether a specific cognitive control mechanism that directs attention between self-generated thoughts and external information might moderate the relationship between dysphoria and maladaptive self-referential thinking. Results showed that dysphoria increases the frequency of rumination, self-blame, and catastrophising, especially for participants who have more difficulty in switching from self-generated thoughts to information provided by the environment. These results shed new light on the cognitive mechanisms underlying maladaptive self-referential thinking associated with dysphoria. More specifically, this specific cognitive mechanism might play a key role in the maintenance or amplification of a depressed mood.
PMID: 21972982 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]