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FRIMED-Klinisk medisin og folkehelse

Negative thinking as dysfunctional habit

Awarded: NOK 0.54 mill.

Persistent negative thinking about oneself is considered as pathological. Beck incorporated schematic negative thinking as a core element in his model of depression. However, the conceptual status of this phenomenon is less clear. While most stress the ne gative content of thinking, we propose to focus on the process. We approach negative thinking as a mental habit, and thus measure it with a newly developed measure, the Self-Report Habit Index of negative self-thinking (SRHI). We assume that by focusing o n the habitual process of negative thinking, rather than the negative content of thoughts per se, we are able to make theoretical and practical advancements. Three theoretical questions are addressed. Negative habitual self-thinking will be tested as a ma rker of cognitive vulnerability to depression. It will be tested whether the self-concept may form a trigger of habitual negative self-thinking. We will test the depressive realism hypothesis, i.e., whether negative habitual thinking is associated with th e absence of a positivity bias or the presence of a negativity bias in self-thinking. Finally, the SRHI will be tested as a monitoring device in therapy.

Funding scheme:

FRIMED-Klinisk medisin og folkehelse

Thematic Areas and Topics

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