Hooked on a feeling: Repetitive cognition and internalizing symptomatology in relation to autism spectrum symptomatology

Repetitive cognition, including rumination such as that seen in depression, has been shown to correlate with depression symptoms in both typically developing individuals and individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Repetitive cognition is more common in autism spectrum disorder than in typically developing peers, as is depression; thus, this study evaluated the role of repetitive cognition in relation between autism spectrum symptomatology and depressive symptomatology. In all, 200 typically developing adults completed self-report questionnaires measuring autism spectrum symptomatology, different forms of repetitive cognition (general perseveration and depressive rumination), depression, and rejection sensitivity. Perseveration was found to mediate the relation between autism spectrum symptoms and depression, and to partially mediate the relation between autism spectrum symptoms and rejection sensitivity. We conclude that it is of vital importance to consider cognition when considering depression in autism spectrum disorder.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorders; broader autism phenotype; depression; perseveration; rejection sensitivity; repetitive cognition; rumination.