The Importance of Perseverative Cognition for Both Mental and Somatic Disorders in a Naturalistic Psychiatric Patient Sample

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Comorbidity between mental and somatic disorders is prevalent and is associated with low quality of life and high health care utilization. Research has implicated perseverative cognition (PC) as contributing to the development of both mental and somatic disorders. However, research on the role of PC in the comorbidity of those disorders is largely lacking, especially studies with clinical samples. The current study explored the relative importance of different mental (i.e., depression, anxiety, addiction, autism, ADHD) and somatic disorders (i.e., (cardio-)vascular, immune-/endocrine) for PC in a naturalistic sample of 288 psychiatric patients (60.4% female; Mage = 39.91, SDage = 13.92). In a series of multiple regression analyses complemented with relative importance analyses, depression emerged as the most important predictor of overall level of PC, as well as of its different components, followed by addiction. Contrary to our expectations, the results for anxiety were mixed. Also, neither autism or ADHD, nor any of the somatic disorders did show significant contributions to the explained variance in PC. Hence, no evidence for the role of PC in the comorbidity between mental and somatic disorders was found. Rather, in psychiatric samples, PC may be specifically related to stress-related mental disorders. Keywords: perseverative cognition, repetitive negative thinking, comorbidity, somatic disorders, mental disorders
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