The association of perserverative negative thinking with depression, anxiety and emotional distress in people with long term conditions: A systematic review
Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Reason for embargo
Objective: Depression is common in people with long term conditions, and is associated with worse medical outcomes. Previous research shows perseverative negative thinking (e.g. worry, rumination) predicts subsequent depression and worse medical outcomes, suggesting interventions targeting perseverative negative thinking could improve depression and medical outcomes. Previous studies recruited healthy individuals, however. This review aimed to determine the temporal relationship and strength of prospective association of perseverative negative thinking with depression, anxiety and emotional distress in people with long term conditions. Method: Four electronic databases were searched for studies including standardised measures of perseverative negative thinking and depression, anxiety or emotional distress, and which presented prospective associations. Findings were narratively synthesized. Results: Thirty studies were identified in a range of long term conditions. Perseverative negative thinking and subsequent depression, anxiety or emotional distress were significantly correlated in the majority of studies (bivariate r=0.23 to r=0.73). 25 studies controlled for confounders, and in 15 perseverative negative thinking predicted subsequent depression, anxiety or emotional distress. Results varied according to condition and study quality. Six of 7 studies found bivariate associations between depression, anxiety or emotional distress and subsequent perseverative negative thinking, though 2 studies controlling for key covariates found no association. Few studies assessed the impact of perseverative negative thinking on medical outcomes. Conclusion: Strongest evidence supported perseverative negative thinking predicting subsequent depression, anxiety and emotional distress in people with long term conditions. Further prospective research is warranted to clarify the association of perseverative negative thinking with subsequent poor medical outcomes.
This research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. This research was also supported by a University of Exeter Medical School PhD Studentship awarded to Leanne Trick.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 91, pp. 89-101