Cognitive-attentional syndrome (CAS) is seen, in the metacognitive model, as a basic and transdiagnostic factor of various forms of psychological disturbances. The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether people with high levels of different symptoms of CAS are more likely to report childhood adversities as well as to be diagnosed with emotional disorders compared to those with few or no symptoms.
Two extreme groups were selected from an initial internet sample of 1225 participants on the basis of the results of three questionnaires measuring CAS symptoms and metacognitive beliefs. Ultimately, 98 participants took part in the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR (SCID-I; research version): 44 from a high CAS group (HCAS) and 54 from a low CAS group (LCAS).
59% of all participants reported adverse experiences in childhood, more in the HCAS group (71%, compared to 50% in the LCAS group). Among reported adversities were experiences of abuse and neglect, but also death of a loved one, serious arguments between parents, parental divorce and overprotection. Participants from the HCAS group were diagnosed with a disorder, either current or lifetime, by SCID-I, significantly more often than those from the LCAS group. They also differed significantly on many other measures of psychopathology and current stress. However, an interaction between CAS symptoms and childhood adversities was observed: the vast majority of all participants diagnosed with disorder reported simultaneously childhood adversities – and most of them belonged also to the HCAS group. Moreover, analyses revealed somewhat opposite an interaction between low level of CAS symptoms and having at least one good, close relationship in childhood in predicting the absence of lifetime diagnosis of disorder.
Findings confirm the basic assumptions of the metacognitive approach to psychopathology. CAS seems to be a good predictor of current and lifetime psychopathology, so screening for it might be worthwhile. Childhood adversities together with high levels of CAS seem to be a risk factor for lifetime diagnosis of disorder, whereas low levels of CAS and having a good relationship in childhood seem to be a protective ones.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Traumatic events, Emotion deregulation, Problem drinking, Childhood adversities, Psychopathology