Social and cognitive predictors of cognitive restructuring
Manjegani, S. Yasaman
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an efficacious treatment for many forms of psychiatric disorders; however, and despite its efficacy, a substantial minority of patients do not benefit from CBT. As such, there is a need to further understand which patients will benefit from CBT. The ability to identify and challenge negative automatic thoughts is a shared component of variant forms of CBT, and is typically achieved clinically through cognitive restructuring. To date, very limited research has examined the role of socio-cognitive individual differences, such as analytical thinking, in predicting the capacity to perform effective restructuring. The present study examined the correlation between analytical thinking, as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), and cognitive restructuring capacity, as rated on a coded 6-item scale of cognitive restructuring performance (e.g., capacity to identify situation, thought, emotion, cognitive distortion category, etc.) created for this study. We recruited a sample of 281 participants (female n=119 or 42.3%) online through Mechanical Turk (MTurk) (Amazon Web Services, 2005) and asked them to complete measures of analytical thinking (CRT), and depressive symptoms and its cognitive correlates (rumination; cognitive distortions). Participants then watched a psychoeducation video on how to appropriately perform restructuring, and then asked to complete a task in which they were challenged to restructure a recent negative automatic thought of their own. Analyses revealed no significant correlation between CRT and restructuring scores (r = -.05; p = 0.61); however, there was significant negative correlations between rumination and cognitive restructuring scores, (r = -.16; p = .009), as well as cognitive distortions and cognitive restructuring scores (r = - 0.13; p = 0.034). No significant correlation was found between any demographic variables and cognitive restructuring scores. Higher baseline ruminative cognitive style and use of cognitive distortions may be associated with capacity for effective engagement with cognitive restructuring in the context of CBT.
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