PAST- AND FUTURE- ORIENTED COGNITIONS IN PTSD: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RUMINATION AND WORRY IN DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY SYMPTOMS
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex disorder characterized by symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Likewise, individuals with PTSD experience Repetitive Negative Cognitions in the form of rumination and worry that may be focused on the past, present, or future. Although cognitions in individuals with PTSD have been studied, there is some question as to what types of cognitions individuals with PTSD generally experience and to what extent different types of cognitions contribute to different PTSD symptomatology. Further, although worry and rumination in PTSD have been studied, the question of the importance of the time-focus of cognitions in PTSD has not been adequately addressed. Time-focused cognitions and the relationships among depression, anxiety, rumination and worry were examined in this study using experience sampling method. Participants were asked to fill out a short survey measuring depression, anxiety, rumination, worry and time-focus five times per day for seven days. Results indicated that the presence of Current-focused cognitions strengthened the relationship between worry and anxiety compared to Future-focused cognitions. These findings suggest that in terms of the relationship between anxiety and worry, it is current-focus that is important not future-focus. Additionally, worry partially mediated the relationship between rumination and anxiety, and rumination partially mediated the relationship between worry and depression. Overall, the results suggest that time-focus may be important in some areas of PTSD, and the study highlights the complex relationships among depression, anxiety, rumination, worry and time-focused cognitions.