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Title:The rejection of one’s own weaknesses and internalizing psychopathology: Exploring self-insecurity’s links with unpleasant repetitive thinking and depression
Author(s):Huang, Alice B.
Director of Research:Berenbaum, Howard
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Berenbaum, Howard
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cohen, Dov; Fairbairn, Catharine; Fraley, R. Chris; Hankin, Benjamin
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
unpleasant repetitive thinking
perseverative negative thinking
persistent negative thinking
alcohol problems
transdiagnostic risk factor
daily diary
clinical interview
Abstract:Self-(in)security is an aspect of self-evaluation defined as the acceptance (or rejection) of one’s own weaknesses. My dissertation consists of three studies investigating self-insecurity as a potential transdiagnostic risk factor for psychopathology, especially internalizing psychopathology. Study 1 explored the link between self-insecurity and unpleasant repetitive thinking, an transdiagnostic process that appears to cause and perpetuate internalizing psychopathology. Specifically, I examined the link between-individuals (in a sample of 158 undergraduates) and within-individual (using daily diaries). Self-insecurity is significantly associated with repetitive thinking at both levels—above and beyond self-esteem and neuroticism/negative affect. Study 2 further investigated self-insecurity’s link with repetitive thinking by using longitudinal methods, and began to investigate self-insecurity as a potential risk factor for depression. A sample of 195 undergraduates, over-selected for depression history and depressive symptom severity, completed two laboratory sessions separated by approximately one month. Self-insecurity prospectively predicts increases in repetitive thinking. Additionally, self-insecurity is associated with lifetime MDD—above and beyond concurrent depression, and neuroticism or self-esteem. Moreover, self-insecurity prospectively predicts increases in MDD symptom severity, NA, and anhedonic depression. In contrast, depression does not prospectively predict changes in self-insecurity. In a sample of 280 undergraduates, Study 3 replicated Study 1’s finding that self-insecurity is associated with repetitive thinking at both the between-individuals level and the within-individual level. Moreover, Study 3 began to investigate proposed mediators of self-insecurity’s association with repetitive thinking, and found that the perceived self-evaluation relevance of threats, the perceived cost of threats, and discomfort with ambiguity each mediates self-insecurity’s link with repetitive thinking at both the between-individuals and the within-individual levels. Additionally, Study 3 replicated Study 2’s finding that self-insecurity is associated with anhedonic depression. Study 3 also began to investigate self-insecurity’s associations with subjective experience of stress and several alcohol variables. Although self-insecurity is not associated with whether participants drank or how much they drank (in standard drinks), self-insecurity is associated with the severity of alcohol problems—above and beyond extroversion. We recommend further investigation of self-insecurity as a possible transdiagnostic risk factor.
Issue Date:2019-07-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Alice Huang
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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