Cognitive risk factors are key in the vulnerability for internalizing disorders. Cognitive risk factors modulate the way individuals process information from the environment which in turn impacts the day-to-day affective experience. In 296 young adults, we assessed two transdiagnostic, general risk factors—repetitive negative thinking (RNT) and anxiety sensitivity in a high-RNT subsample (N = 119). We also assessed disorder and content-specific risk factors including worry, rumination, and three facets of anxiety sensitivity (cognitive, social, physical). To determine the day-to-day affective experience, we used cell-phone-based ecological momentary assessment to assess the mean and variability of positive and negative affect (PA; NA) over 3–4 months. Two multilevel multivariate Bayesian models were used to predict PA and NA mean and variability from (1) general and (2) specific cognitive risk factors. Mean NA was a nonspecific correlate of cognitive risk across both models, while mean PA was most strongly related to RNT and rumination. NA variability was most strongly related to RNT, rumination, and the physiological facet of anxiety sensitivity. PA variability was a specific correlate of RNT. Results highlight that cognitive risk factors for internalizing disorders manifest in unique patterns of day-to-day emotional experience.
Identifying Real-World Affective Correlates of Cognitive Risk Factors for Internalizing Disorders
Lara M. Baez, Nikki A. Puccetti, Caitlin A. Stamatis, Brittany A. Jaso, Kiara R. Timpano, Aaron S. Heller