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Uniwersytet SWPS - Logo

Dynamic Relation between Repetitive Negative Thinking and Inhibition in Depression

Dynamic Relation between Repetitive Negative Thinking and Inhibition in Depression

principal investigator
Monika Kornacka
Ph.D. / Assistant Professor

Psychologist, specializing in emotional regulation in mood disorders

Full bio
project value: PLN 752,568
funding source : National Science Center
discipline: psychology
research center: Institute of Psychology
location: Warsaw
duration: 2017 2018 2019

Everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time. However, for people suffering from depression or anxiety negative thinking may turn into a self-propelling vicious circle that seems impossible to stop. Researchers from SWPS University will test whether a mobile app can help these patients to change their thought patterns and improve their wellbeing. The results of laboratory studies have been promising, but it is crucial to test whether similar effect can be obtained in everyday life of patients. The mobile application has the potential to significantly improve access to psychological interventions for people suffering from various mental disorders.

 

RESEARCH PROJECT

Dynamic Relation

 Between Repetitive Negative Thinking and Inhibition in Depression

Daily Process Approach

 

 

Research Unit UNI SWPS english
Grant AmountPLN 752 568
Funding SourceNCN logo poziom en2

Duration of Research Project: June 2017 – May 2019

Everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time. However, for people suffering from depression or anxiety negative thinking may turn into a self-propelling vicious circle that seems impossible to stop. Researchers from SWPS University will test whether a mobile app can help these patients to change their thought patterns and improve wellbeing. The results of laboratory studies have been promising, but it is crucial to test whether similar effects can be obtained in daily life. The mobile application has the potential to significantly improve access to psychological interventions for people suffering from various mental disorders.

European CommissionThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 665778.

Project Outline

Repetitive Negative Thinking, often called rumination, is a natural way of regulating human emotions. Sometimes, we all dwell on a particular problem, thinking repeatedly “Why does it always happen to me?”, “What have I done to deserve this?”. Usually, people have a whole pattern of emotional regulation strategies at their disposal and they choose the appropriate one, depending on the circumstances, their previous experience, or mood. If someone lacks flexibility in adjusting the emotional regulation strategies to the ongoing situation and by default has a tendency to ruminate, it might lead to impaired emotional regulation and consequently might increase the risk of mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. Research on rumination suggests that this kind of repetitive thinking not only increases the risk of depression, but it might also impair its efficient treatment and remission.

One of the main hypothesis is that excessive rumination is caused by the impairment of inhibition. Inhibition is an executive function. It enables people to stop their automatic reactions, habits, and routines. For example, people use inhibition when they encounter something funny, but the circumstances are not appropriate for laughing out loud, for instance, during an official ceremony or on a somber occasion. Therefore the researchers will map the process of rumination and will test what is the role of inhibition in this model. Before developing an effective rumination therapy for patients who suffer from depression or who are at a high risk of developing this mental disorder, it is necessary to conduct basic research, which will explore the relation between inhibition, rumination and emotional regulation.

We are excited to start the first series of studies, which will test whether a mobile app can help patients suffering from depression or anxiety to change their thought patterns and improve wellbeing. The results of laboratory studies have been promising, but it is crucial to test whether similar effects can be obtained in daily life. The mobile application has the potential to significantly improve access to psychological interventions for people suffering from various mental disorders.

Kornacka, Monika Principal Investigator
Bio
Tak
Permanent employee
Tak
Role in the Faculty
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Role in the Department
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Role in the Institute
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Role in the Research Center
{"funkcja-w-centrum0":{"Funkcja":"Head","\u0141\u0105cznik":"of the","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Emotion Cognition Lab"}}
Specialization
Psychologist, specializing in emotional regulation in mood disorders
First and last name
Monika Kornacka
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / Assistant Professor
City
katowice
Discipline
psychology
Institute
Emotion Cognition Lab
Faculty
Array
Ph.D. / Assistant Professor Monika KornackaPsychologist, specializing in emotional regulation in mood disorders

Research Methods

The project includes two types of studies. In the first study, called Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA study), participants will be asked to use a smartphone application in their everyday life. The second study will be conducted in laboratory conditions.

Ecological Momentary Assessment

The mobile application developed in collaboration with Lodz University of Technology provides new possibilities for measuring psychological variables. Thanks to the application the researchers will be able to test the relation between rumination, inhibition and emotional regulation at any given moment. They will also be able to monitor how the relation between these three processes evolves in the course of the participant’s daily life. This evolution seems to be a very important variable as recent studies suggest that not only the frequency of rumination, but also the dynamic relation of rumination with other variables may impact the risk of depression. For example, the researchers will be able to examine what frequency of rumination predicts the lower emotional regulation. Additionally, the researchers will test whether it is possible to train inhibition by using a smartphone application.

Laboratory Study

The results of the initial experimental research on inhibition training look promising. It seems that the training can reduce the tendency for maladaptive use of rumination. However, the effect of inhibition training on rumination and emotional regulation has never been tested before in clinical population of depressed patients or in everyday lives of study participants and patients. Hence, the laboratory study will allow researchers to control additional variables, which is not possible in the more ecological study employing the smartphone application. In the laboratory study the researchers will examine what other factors may affect the relation between rumination, inhibition and emotional regulation. The researchers will experimentally induce rumination or distraction (control group) and using an eye tracker they will measure how these inductions affect the efficacy of inhibition in healthy and depressed participants.

Application of Results

The studies conducted in the course of this project will help to create a dynamic model of rumination, inhibition and depressive symptomatology in everyday life of patients and will allow to determinate what other factors might affect this relation. This research is a necessary step, required to improve therapies for patients, who tend to engage in excessive rumination.

Additionally, the researchers will test whether rumination-focused therapy can be supported by new technologies and whether inhibition training could be used in this type of therapy. Since rumination is one of the main risk factors in depression, which according to WHO affects 5% of the world’s population, the results of this research project will be of great importance.

Research Team

Krejtz, Izabela
Bio
Tak
Permanent employee
Tak
Role in the Faculty
{"funkcja-na-wydziale0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Faculty of Psychology in Warsaw"}}
Role in the Department
{"funkcja-w-katedrze0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Department of Clinical Psychology"}}
Role in the Institute
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Role in the Research Center
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Specialization
psychologist, specializing in determinants of wellbeing and eye-tracking research
First and last name
Izabela Krejtz
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / Associate Professor
City
warszawa
Discipline
psychology
Position
profesor uczelni
Faculty
Array
Institute
Array
Ph.D. / Associate Professor Izabela Krejtzpsychologist, specializing in determinants of wellbeing and eye-tracking research
Nezlek, John
Bio
Nie
Permanent employee
Tak
First and last name
John Nezlek
Role in the Faculty
{"funkcja-na-wydziale0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Faculty of Psychology and Law in Pozna\u0144"}}
Role in the Department
{"funkcja-w-katedrze0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Department of Methodology and Psychological Assessment"}}
Role in the Institute
{"funkcja-w-instytucie0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Institute of Psychology"}}
Role in the Research Center
{"funkcja-w-centrum0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Center of Climate Action and Social Transformations (4CAST)"}}
Specialization
social psychologist
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / Associate Professor
City
poznan
Discipline
psychology
Position
profesor uczelni
Faculty
Array
Institute
Array
Ph.D. / Associate Professor John Nezleksocial psychologist
Assistant Professor
Piotr Napieralski

Faculty of Technical Physics, Information Technology, and Applied Mathematics, Institute of Information Technology at Lodz University of Technology 

Professor
Céline Douilliez


Expert in cognitive-behavioral therapy, her research interests include transdiagnostic processes in psychopathology, Lille University of Lille, France