Repetitive negative thinking is associated with impaired verbal learning but not executive functioning in individuals with eating disorders

Tulsa 1000 Investigators

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1 Scopus citations


Objective: Repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is an important symptom in the development and maintenance of eating disorders (EDs). RNT Research on RNT's effect on cognition in EDs is scarce. This investigation focused on associations between RNT and cognition in individuals with EDs. Methods: Ruminative Response Scale (RRS) was used from Tulsa-1000 study (T-1000) data (eating disorders-ED, Major Depressive Disorder-MDD, and healthy subjects) who were propensity matched to examine associations with cognitive performance. RNT was examined across groups and we quantified the associations between scores for RNT, depression, executive function, and learning/memory from the T-1000 study. A linear regression analysis was conducted to determine predictors of disability. Results: RNT was similar in ED and MDD participants, and more intense than in controls. RNT was significantly correlated with verbal learning/memory in the control (r = 0.514, p = 0.006) and ED groups (r = −0.447, p = 0.020), but this relationship had opposite slopes in either group. Increased RNT was associated with decreased verbal learning/memory ability in ED participants while in controls, increased RNT was associated with increased ability. Comorbid depression in the ED group acted as a potential moderator of the above relationship between RNT and EF. Among ED patients, depressive symptom severity was the best predictor of disability. Discussion: The differential association of RNT with cognitive abilities in ED and MDD patients suggests depression is not a mediator of RNT-mediated cognitive dysfunction in EDs. This necessitates a better understanding of the mechanistic relationship between RNT and diverse types of cognitive functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100090
JournalPersonalized Medicine in Psychiatry
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Eating disorders
  • Executive functioning
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Repetitive negative thinking
  • Rumination


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