Delineating Characteristics of Maladaptive Repetitive Thought: Development and Preliminary Validation of the Perseverative Cognitions Questionnaire

Lauren E. Szkodny, Michelle Gayle Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Worry, rumination, and obsessive thinking are theorized to differ on temporal orientation, positive perceived function, degree of intrusiveness, and discordance with one’s self-concept. However, prior findings with respect to such differences may be due to method variance of the measures used and/or inclusion of items confounded by diagnostic symptoms. Accurately capturing differences between types of perseverative thought linked to psychopathology and understanding whether such aspects are common across disorders or specific to some may be important to designing effective treatments for them. Two studies are presented detailing the development and validation of the Perseverative Cognitions Questionnaire (PCQ). The PCQ is a 45-item self-report measure that assesses six dimensional characteristics of worry, rumination, and obsessive thinking previously found to discriminate these thought styles: Lack of Controllability, Preparing for the Future, Expecting the Worst, Searching for Causes/Meaning, Dwelling on the Past, and Thinking Discordant with Ideal Self. Factor structure of the PCQ was established using principal components, exploratory factor, and confirmatory factor analyses. PCQ scales exhibited differential convergence with measures of perseverative thought and psychopathology. The PCQ also demonstrated acceptable retest correlations across 1- and 2-week periods, and incremental validity when predicting symptoms of anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1084-1104
Number of pages21
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this