The predictors of thought suppression in young and old adults : effects of anxiety, rumination and other variables
The tendency to use thought suppression in everyday life as assessed by the White Bear Suppression Inventory (WBSI) has been related to several psychopathological and personality factors. However, previous research has primarily investigated a limited set of psychopathological factors and their relation to the use of thought suppression in younger adults only. Virtually nothing is known about the relation between thought suppression and psychopathology in older adults. The present study examined a wide variety of variables that have been theoretically and empirically linked to thought suppression and used regression models to predict the tendency to suppress thoughts in everyday life, in both younger (mean age 20) and older (mean age 73) adult samples. Results demonstrated that in both samples, the use of thought suppression was best predicted by rumination and trait anxiety. In addition, young participants had significantly higher WBSI scores than older adults but this age difference disappeared when controlling for low levels of anxiety and rumination in older adults.