Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Laura J. Dixon

Second Advisor

Sarah A. Bilsky

Third Advisor

John N. Young

Relational Format



Repetitive negative thinking is a transdiagnostic construct that conceptually covers worry and rumination, which are strongly associated with anxiety and depression. Worry is typically future oriented, whereas rumination is past oriented. RNT has been posited as a causal and maintaining factor for multiple disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and insomnia. The current study aimed to further understand the contribution of RNT in insomnia symptoms, after controlling for anxiety and depression. A self-report battery measuring anxiety, depression, RNT and insomnia was administered to 101 college students. In this sample, 52% of participants endorsed clinical levels of insomnia. Bivariate correlations found anxiety, depression, and RNT to be significantly associated with insomnia. A hierarchical multiple regression indicated anxiety and depression predicted insomnia symptoms and accounted for 24.1% of the variance in insomnia symptoms. In the second step, the addition of RNT predicted insomnia symptoms and accounted for an additional 3.1% of the variance in insomnia symptoms. Results suggest that insomnia is significantly correlated with anxiety, depression, and RNT. More specifically, results highlight that RNT plays a unique role in insomnia symptoms, even after controlling for anxiety and depression. Findings suggest that additional research into RNT as a causal factor in insomnia is needed. One potential implication is that reducing RNT in treatment may improve symptoms of insomnia.

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