Lower general executive function is primarily associated with trait worry: A latent variable analysis of negative thought/affect measures.
This exploratory latent-variable study sought to identify common sources of variance between two multifaceted sets of constructs: executive functions (EFs) and negative thoughts/affect. One-hundred ninety-two college students completed nine tasks representing three types of EFs (inhibition, updating, and shifting) and a set of questionnaires assessing four facets of negative thought/affect (anxiety symptoms, depression symptoms, worry, and rumination). Results indicated that, although the four negative thought/affect constructs were substantially correlated with one another, trait worry was the construct uniquely associated with EFs. Specifically, worry was associated with general EF abilities underlying all three subtypes of EFs (common EF), but was not associated with specific EF abilities (i.e., shifting-specific and updating-specific). These findings highlight the importance of partitioning common and specific variances in both EFs and negative thought/affect when examining the associations between these two research domains. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).