Past research has established a connection between regret (negative emotions connected to cognitions about how past actions might have achieved better outcomes) and both depression and anxiety. In the present research, the relations between regret, repetitive thought, depression, and anxiety were examined in a nationally representative telephone survey. Although both regret and repetitive thought were associated with general distress, only regret was associated with anhedonic depression and anxious arousal. Further, the interaction between regret and repetitive thought (i.e., repetitive regret) was highly predictive of general distress but not of anhedonic depression nor anxious arousal. These relations were strikingly consistent across demographic variables such as sex, race/ethnicity, age, education, and income.
Roese, Neal, K. Epstude, F. Fessel, M. Morrison, R. Smallman, A. Summerville, Adam Galinsky, and S. Segerstrom. "Repetitive regret, depression, and anxiety: Findings from a nationally representative survey." Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 28, no. 6 (2009): 671-688.
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