Associations between depression, anxious arousal and manifestations of psychological inflexibility

Kirsten E. Gilbert, Natasha A. Tonge, Renee J. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and objectives: Psychological inflexibility exhibits across multiple facets of functioning, including thinking styles, personality, cognitive shifting, emotion, and physiology, with many of these manifestations showing associations with depression. As such, these facets might be part of an overarching latent construct of psychological inflexibility that explains associations with depression. We predicted that (1) five facets of inflexibility (perseverative thinking, personality rigidity, attention-shifting, negative emotional inertia, and low respiratory sinus arrhythmia reactivity) would load onto a unique latent construct of psychological inflexibility. Further, we hypothesized this latent construct of psychological inflexibility would be (2) significantly associated with higher depression; and (3) associated with depression to a greater extent than anxious arousal. Methods: Seventy-five adult community participants completed measures assessing the five indices of inflexibility and self-report measures of depression and anxious arousal. Results: Structural equation modeling identified a latent inflexibility construct reflected by perseverative thinking, personality rigidity, and emotional inertia, but did not include attention-shifting or RSA reactivity. The inflexibility construct was positively associated with depression and anxious arousal, but more strongly associated with depression than with anxious arousal. Limitations: Limitations included a small sample size, cross-sectional approach, and dimensional measures of depression and anxious arousal. Conclusions: Findings provide preliminary support that multiple facets of inflexibility may emerge from a broader overarching vulnerability for internalizing psychopathology. This overarching inflexibility construct may have stronger associations with depression than with anxious arousal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume62
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Anxious arousal
  • Depression
  • PsPychological inflexibility

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