Comparative Study
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Comparison of trait and state mind wandering among schizotypal, subclinically depressed, and control individuals.

BMC Psychiatry 2024 June 6
BACKGROUND: Mind wandering is a common phenomenon in daily life. However, the manifestations and cognitive correlates of mind wandering in different subclinical populations remain unclear. In this study, these aspects were examined in individuals with schizotypal traits and individuals with depressive symptoms, i.e., subclinical populations of patients with schizophrenia and depression.

METHODS: Forty-two individuals with schizotypal traits, 42 individuals with subclinical depression, and 42 controls were recruited to complete a mind wandering thought sampling task (state level) and a mind wandering questionnaire (trait level). Measures of rumination and cognitive functions (attention, inhibition, and working memory) were also completed by participants.

RESULTS: Both subclinical groups exhibited more state and trait mind wandering than did the control group. Furthermore, individuals with schizotypal traits demonstrated more trait mind wandering than individuals with subclinical depression. Rumination, sustained attention, and working memory were associated with mind wandering. In addition, mind wandering in individuals with subclinical depression can be accounted for by rumination or attention, while mind wandering in individuals with high schizotypal traits cannot be accounted for by rumination, attention, or working memory.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that individuals with high schizotypal traits and subclinical depression have different patterns of mind wandering and mechanisms. These findings have implications for understanding the unique profile of mind wandering in subclinical individuals.

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