Perseverative cognition and health behaviors: A systematic review and meta-analysis
O'Connor, Daryl B.
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Clancy, F., Prestwich, A., Caperon, L. & O’Connor, D. B. (2016) Perseverative cognition and health behaviors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10:534.
Recent developments in stress theory have emphasized the significance of perseverative cognition (worry and rumination) in furthering our understanding of stress-disease relationships. Substantial evidence has shown that perseverative cognition (PC) is associated with somatic outcomes and numerous physiological concomitants have been identified (i.e., cardiovascular, autonomic, and endocrine nervous system activity parameters). However, there has been no synthesis of the evidence regarding the association between PC and health behaviors. This is important given such behaviors may also directly and/or indirectly influence health and disease outcomes (triggered by PC). Therefore, the aim of the current review was to synthesize available studies that have explored the relationship between worry and rumination and health behaviors (health risk: behaviors which, if performed, would be detrimental to health; health promoting: behaviors which, if performed, would be beneficial for health). A systematic review and meta-analyses of the literature were conducted. Studies were included in the review if they reported the association between PC and health behavior. Studies identified in MEDLINE or PsycINFO (k = 7504) were screened, of which 19 studies met the eligibility criteria. Random-effects meta-analyses suggested increased PC was generally associated with increased health risk behaviors but not health promoting behaviors. Further analyses indicated that increases in rumination (r = 0.122), but not reflection (r = −0.080), or worry (r = 0.048) were associated with health risk behaviors. In conclusion, these results showed that increases in PC are associated with increases in health risk behaviors (substance use, alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating, and smoking) that are driven primarily through rumination. These findings provide partial support for our hypothesis that in Brosschot et al.'s (2006) original perseverative cognition hypothesis, there may be scope for additional routes to pathogenic disease via poorer health behaviors.