Exposure and Reactivity to Repetitive Thought in the Neuroticism–Distress Relationship

Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Elana M. Gloger, Jaime K. Hardy, Leslie R. Crofford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Distress has been assumed to result from exposure to repetitive thought (RT). However, if RT is viewed as internally generated stressors, both exposure and affective reactivity to RT could play roles in generating distress. Three studies (young adults, N = 99; midlife women, N = 111; older adults, N = 159) assessed exposure and reactivity to daily RT and tested whether neuroticism was related to individual differences in both exposure and affective reactivity. Across all three studies, reactivity effects on depressive symptoms exceeded those of exposure to RT, and neuroticism was associated with more exposure and greater affective reactivity. Furthermore, RT exposure and reactivity accounted for most when not all of the relationship between neuroticism and depressive symptoms. Further consideration of both exposure and affective reactivity to RT can not only increase the explanatory power of this construct but also suggest effective targets for intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Daily diary
  • Depression
  • Distress
  • Exposure
  • Neuroticism
  • Reactivity
  • Repetitive thought
  • Rumination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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