Relationships among thought suppression, intrusive thoughts, and psychological symptoms

Rachel D. Barnes, Jenny L. Klein-Sosa, Kimberly Renk, Stacey Tantleff-Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although thought suppression is related to increases in psychological symptoms (Purdon, 1999), the mechanisms that may explain this relationship are not well understood. As a result, the current study examined the relationships among thought suppression, intrusive thoughts, and psychological symptoms assessed by the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) in a diverse sample of undergraduate students. Results suggested that, for women, utilizing thought suppression and experiencing unwanted intrusive thoughts were related to symptoms on the PAI. Findings further suggested that intrusive thoughts mediated the relationship between thought suppression and various psychological symptoms that may be experienced by women. In contrast, for men, intrusive thoughts mediated the relationship between thought suppression and psychological symptoms consistent with anxiety-related disorders. Results suggested that learning to accept the experience of unwanted thoughts and refraining from using thought suppression may promote more beneficial outcomes for individuals experiencing a variety of psychological symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-146
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies
Volume10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Psychological symptoms
  • Thought suppression
  • Unwanted intrusive thoughts

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