Metacognitions about Self-Critical Rumination and their Effect on Self-Esteem and Acute Distress

PhD Thesis

Kolubinski, D. (2019). Metacognitions about Self-Critical Rumination and their Effect on Self-Esteem and Acute Distress. PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Applied Sciences
AuthorsKolubinski, D.
TypePhD Thesis

The aim of this research is to develop a better understanding of metacognitions about self-critical rumination based on the Self-Regulatory Executive Functioning model. Self-criticism refers to a series of persistent and negative self-judgements, often involuntary, that an individual makes about themselves. Recent research has explored the possibility that self-criticism can lead to a more repetitive style of thinking, called self-critical rumination, where an individual identifies with their self-critical thoughts and has difficulty shifting attention away from them. Metacognitions, beliefs that individuals have about their internal experiences and how to control them, play a crucial role in the activation and maintenance of this process, but to date no research has explored whether that is the case with self-critical rumination.
The studies discussed in this thesis are an attempt to understand self-critical rumination and the impact that it has on levels of self-esteem and acute distress when faced with failure. This has involved interviewing individuals with low self-esteem to create a metacognitive profile and using that profile to create a measure of metacognitions related to self-critical rumination. Results indicated that there are two types of metacognitions about self-critical rumination: positive metacognitions, which justify engaging with self-critical thoughts, and negative metacognitions, which highlight the uncontrollability and potential damaging effects of self-critical rumination. A path analysis was then conducted showing that trait levels of self-critical rumination and associated metacognitions partially mediate the relationship between depression and self-esteem and self-criticism and self-esteem. Lastly, an experimental manipulation of state self-critical rumination showed a significant increase in acute levels of stress when trying to complete a near-impossible task. Trait rumination and negative metacognitions were correlated with levels of distress after debrief. Treatment implications in the use of Metacognitive Therapy, general limitations and potential for future research are discussed.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
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Publication dates
Online15 Aug 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Oct 2019
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License: CC BY 4.0
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