Title

Health Anxiety, Rumination, and Negative Affect: A Mediational Analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2008

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Objective: A ruminative cognitive style has been associated with a variety of mood and anxiety disorders. This study examined whether a ruminative cognitive style is associated with health anxiety, even when controlling for negative affect. Method: College students (N=198) completed measures of health anxiety, rumination, and negative affect and estimated the likelihood that ambiguous symptoms were indicative of catastrophic illnesses. These data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Results: A ruminative cognitive style was both indirectly associated with health anxiety via its strong relationship with negative affect and was also directly associated with health anxiety. Furthermore, catastrophizing ambiguous symptoms was also directly related to health anxiety. Conclusion: High health anxiety individuals not only hold dysfunctional beliefs about health and illness but they also think about their distress in a ruminative manner. A more complete cognitive-behavioral model of health anxiety should include not only cognitive contents ("what") but also cognitive style ("how"). (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Volume

64

Issue

5

First Page

495

Last Page

501