Reflective pondering is associated with executive control for emotional information : an adolescent prospective study

Stewart, Tracy M. and Hunter, Simon C. and Rhodes, Sinead M. (2019) Reflective pondering is associated with executive control for emotional information : an adolescent prospective study. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 65. 101486. ISSN 0005-7916

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    Abstract

    Background and objectives In adult populations, rumination and executive control impairments have been highlighted as vulnerability factors for later depression and rumination as a whole construct has recently been linked to lower executive control. However, research with adolescent populations is limited and little is known developmentally of the association between rumination and executive control. A prospective design was used to investigate the relationship between brooding rumination and reflective pondering and executive control for emotional and non-emotional material in adolescence, whilst controlling for the effects of depression and anxiety symptoms. Methods The present study examined the relationship between the subcomponents of rumination and executive control for emotional and non-emotional information, within an adolescent development. A total of 149 adolescents (13–16 years) were tested at two time points, approximately six months between sessions. At each time point, participants completed a computerised, valenced measure of executive control and measures of brooding rumination, reflective pondering, depression symptoms and anxiety symptoms. Results Findings indicate that reflective pondering was predictive of greater executive control for processing emotional information over time. Contrary to research with adults, brooding rumination was not associated with executive control. Limitations This study, conducted across two time points 6 months apart, awaits confirmation from further research across multiple time points and different intervals. Conclusions Reflective pondering may act as a protective factor against later impairment in executive control.