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Repetitive negative thinking (RNT) has been found to be involved in the maintenance of several types of emotional problems and has therefore been suggested to be a transdiagnostic process. However, existing measures of RNT typically focus on a particular disorder-specific content. In this article, the preliminary validation of a content-independent self-report questionnaire of RNT is presented. The 15-item Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire was evaluated in two studies (total N = 1832), comprising non-clinical as well as clinical participants. Results of confirmatory factor analyses across samples supported a second-order model with one higher-order factor representing RNT in general and three lower-order factors representing (1) the core characteristics of RNT (repetitiveness, intrusiveness, difficulties with disengagement), (2) perceived unproductiveness of RNT and (3) RNT capturing mental capacity. High internal consistencies and high re-test reliability were found for the total scale and all three subscales. The validity of the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire was supported by substantial correlations with existing measures of RNT and associations with symptom levels and clinical diagnoses of depression and anxiety. Results suggest the usefulness of the new measure for research into RNT as a transdiagnostic process.

Original publication




Journal article


J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry

Publication Date





225 - 232


Adult, Anxiety, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Psychological, Reproducibility of Results, Surveys and Questionnaires, Thinking