Are metacognitions part of the common core cognitive vulnerability?
anxiety sensitivity, dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs
Hong and colleagues have recently argued that anxiety and depression-related constructs like anxiety sensitivity (AS), intolerance of uncertainty, and ruminative style may be components of a broad general negative repetitive thinking style, known as the common core cognitive vulnerability. Despite similarities between AS and dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs, particularly between AS cognitive concerns and negative metacognitive beliefs about worry, there has been a lack of research examining commonalities between them. Examining AS and metacognitions together may help indicate if dysfunctional metacognitions should be considered another component of this larger cognitive vulnerability. In this study, an undergraduate sample (N=350) completed self-report questionnaires of AS and metacognitive beliefs. AS was assessed using the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3 (ASI-3) with its three subscales measuring physically, socially, and cognitively focused concerns. Metacognitive beliefs were assessed using the Metacognition Questionaire-30 (MCQ-30), with its five subscales for positive beliefs about worry, negative beliefs about worry, cognitive confidence, need to control thoughts, and cognitive self-consciousness. An exploratory principal component analysis revealed the model of best fit was a one factor solution, with all eight subscales loading onto the factor. The cognitive subscale of the ASI-3 had the strongest loading on this factor, followed by negative beliefs about worry, and ASI-3 physical concerns. These findings demonstrate that marked similarities exist in the constructs that make up the subscales of the ASI-3 and MCQ-30. Further, the findings suggest that dysfunctional metacognitions may be another aspect of the proposed common core cognitive vulnerability. Implications for treatment and future research will be discussed.
Presented on May 5, 2023 at the 13th annual conference of the Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies held at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
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