The Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire: Development and Validation

Open Access
Szkodny, Lauren Elizabeth
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 16, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Michelle Gayle Newman, Thesis Advisor
  • Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire
  • worry
  • rumination
Worry and rumination are maladaptive repetitive thought processes that increase negative affect and disrupt cognitive functioning and adaptive problem solving ability, and are generally associated with anxiety and depression, respectively. Their similarity has led to a debate about whether these types of thought are the same constructs associated with different disorders or whether they are differing constructs that may help to distinguish anxiety from depression. Studies comparing these repetitive thought styles have used extant or modified instruments that capture different aspects of worry and rumination. However, comparison studies rarely use equivalent measures when assessing worry and rumination, and it is not clear how respondents conceptualize these two repetitive thinking styles. These issues influence hypotheses about the relationship between these constructs and incite disagreement over their distinguishable characteristics. As advances in the field are likely to follow from more precise definitions of worry and rumination and their components, three studies are presented detailing the development and validation of the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire (PTQ). The PTQ is a 26-item self-report measure that assesses five shared and unique facets of worry and rumination, including General Repetitive Thought, Future Control, Understanding, Past-Focused Repetitive Thought, and Obsessive Thought. The PTQ structure was validated using confirmatory factor analysis. Furthermore, the PTQ and its subscales were positively associated with measures of anxiety, depression, stress, worry, rumination, obsessions, negative affectivity (e.g., neuroticism), and narcissistic vulnerability, and negatively associated with measures of positive affectivity, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Although both anxious and depressed individuals scored significantly higher on the PTQ and its subscales than nonanxious and nondepressed controls, anxious individuals were more likely to engage in repetitive thinking as measured by the PTQ than depressed individuals.