RT2D-derived valence and purpose in episodic RT showed good convergent and divergent validity. The mean correlation of RT2D valence and purpose with self-report and text analysis was r = .59 (p < .05) for valence and r = .42 (p < .05) for purpose. In contrast, the correlations between self-report and text analysis (r = .37, p < .05, for valence and r = .12, p > .05, for purpose), were smaller than the correlations between them and the RT2D dimensions. All comparisons were significant at p < .05 except for the difference between the RT2D-text analysis correlation, r = .48 and the self-report-text analysis correlation, r = .37, for which the significance level was p = .06. These results suggest that the RT2D method captured the most variance in valence and purpose. Convergent correlations with RT2D dimensions were also substantially higher than the method correlations (i.e., the correlation between valence and purpose for each method), which averaged r = .10, and the divergent correlations (i.e., the correlation between one dimension using one method and the other dimension using another method), which also averaged r = .10. Because the RT2D method appeared to capture the most variance in episodic RT and to do so reliably, these ratings were used for all further analyses.
The primary hypothesis was that women who reported higher EA would have more positive RT. EA was associated with more positively and less negatively valenced RT (r = −.22, p < .05) as well as more solving and less searching purpose (r = −.17, p < .05). In addition, the relationship between EA and RT valence varied depending on RT purpose. After controlling for main effects of EA and purpose, the interaction between them significantly predicted RT valence (β = .27, ΔR2 = .08, F(1, 89) = 8.61, p < .05). In this interaction, women low in EA had generally negative RT; however, women high in EA were characterized by positive RT when solving but by negative RT when searching. This pattern would suggest generally positive RT associated with EA but also flexibility in combining RT content and purpose.
Women who were higher in EA also reported more positive adjustment associated with their thoughts, including less impact (r = −.25, p < .05) and negative affect (r = −.21, p < .05) and more positive affect (r = .43, p < .05). More positive episodic RT was also associated with less impact (β = .24, ΔR2 = .05, p < .05) and negative affect (β = .47, ΔR2 = .21, p < .05) and more positive affect (β = −.53, ΔR2 = .27, p < .05). In addition, relationships of valence to impact and negative affect were moderated by purpose (β = − .34, ΔR2 = .09, p < .05, and β = −.21, ΔR2 = .04, p < .05, respectively). In both cases, the relationship between valence and these negative aspects of adjustment was stronger when the RT was solving (i.e., the thoughts had solving, certain, or declarative versus searching, uncertain, or questioning qualities; see above) (see ). Therefore, RT was associated with the least negative impact and affect when it was positive and solving. As described above, this combination was particularly characteristic of women high in EA.
(a) Relationship of episodic repetitive thought qualities to thought impact in Study 1 (b) Relationship of episodic repetitive thought qualities to negative affect associated with the thoughts in Study 1
The relationship between EA and thought impact (r2sp = .065) was substantially decreased after controlling for RT dimensions (r2sp = .016), and the relationship between EA and positive affect (r2sp = .184) was also substantially decreased after controlling for RT main effects (r2sp = .092). The relationship between EA and negative affect (r2sp = .048) was substantially decreased after controlling for RT main effects (r2sp = .015), and controlling for their interaction further reduced the relationship (r2sp = .008). Therefore, women who endorsed coping through EA had less impact, more positive affect, and less negative affect during their RT mainly due to more positive episodic RT content; however, an optimal combination of valence and purpose may also have played a role in the relationship to negative affect.