REPETITIVE AND ITERATIVE
A MOOD-AS-INPUT MECHANISM
Graham C. L. Davey ,
Andy P. Field
Helen M. Startup
A notable feature of many psychopathologies is the tendency of the individual to engage in repetitive types of thought or behaviour. What the disorders have in common is that the individual is seen to persist at an activity, way beyond its utility, be that a cognitive activity, such as catastrophising in generalised anxiety disorder (GAD; Davey & Levy, 1998a), a behavioural activity, such as compulsions in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD; Turner et al., 1992), or ruminative thoughts in depression (Martin & Tesser, 1989, p. 307). As well as their repetitive nature, what these thought styles and behaviours have in common are their negative emotional consequences. Ruminative thoughts typically focus on failed attempts to reach some goal, and so invariably yield negative emotional reactions (Martin & Tesser, 1996); catastrophic worriers report a significant increase in subjective discomfort as catastrophising unfolds (Vasey & Borkovec, 1992) and both the appraisal of obsessive thoughts and the compulsions themselves are associated with increases in negative mood (Frost et al., 1986; Gershuny & Sher, 1995; Steketee et al., 1998a).
In theoretical terms there are at least two important issues: first, what effect does this repetitive thinking have on the individual; and second, what mechanism causes individuals with psychopathology to persist at generating iterative steps when non-pathological individuals will terminate such activities at a significantly earlier stage? This chapter is an attempt to
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Theory, Research and Treatment.
Edited by Ross G. Menzies and Padmal de Silva. © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.