Korean Clinical Psychology Association

Current Issue

Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology - Vol. 40, No. 2

[ Original Article ]
Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology - Vol. 40, No. 2, pp.167-175
Abbreviation: KJCP
ISSN: 1229-0335 (Print) 2733-4538 (Online)
Print publication date 30 May 2021
Received 29 Mar 2021 Revised 06 May 2021 Accepted 07 May 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15842/kjcp.2021.40.2.005

Mediating Effects of Attentional Control in the Relationship Between Neuroticism and Repetitive Negative Thinking
Eun-Jung Cha ; Myoug-Ho Hyun
Department of Psychology, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to : Myoung-Ho Hyun, Department of Psychology, Chung-Ang University, 84 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, Korea; E-mail: hyunmh@cau.ac.kr

© 2021 Korean Clinical Psychology Association
Funding Information ▼


Depression and anxiety symptoms frequently co-occur. Research suggests that a common shared symptom — repetitive negative thinking (RNT) — is a vulnerability factor that develops and prolongs symptoms of affective disorders. A dispositional factor that increases RNT is neuroticism. The mental noise hypothesis of neuroticism suggests that its volatile and reactive nature causes attentional control deficits. As theories of RNT, specifically regarding rumination and worry, indicate such deficits as underlying causes, it is hypothesized that the deficits may mediate the relationship between neuroticism and RNT. This study investigated whether attentional focusing and shifting mediates the relationship between neuroticism and RNT (worry and rumination). Results showed mediational effects of focusing on rumination, while the results on worry were not significant. Neuroticism has been discussed as a temperamental risk factor that increases vulnerability to psychopathology. Future research should employ longitudinal designs and behavioral measures to overcome this study’s limitations.

Keywords: neuroticism, attentional control, repetitive negative thinking, worry, rumination


This research was supported by the Chung-Ang University Research Scholarship Grants in 2019.

Author contributions statement

EJC, graduate student and research assistant at Chung-Ang University, conceptualized the research, collected and analyzed the data, and wrote the original draft of the manuscript. MHH, professor at Chung-Ang University, served as the principal investigator of the research grant, supervised the research process, and reviewed and edited the writing. All authors provided critical feedback, participated in revision of the manuscript, and approved the final submission.

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