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Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
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Psychosocial correlates of depressive rumination

Author(s): Pearson K, Watkins ER, Mullan EG, Moberly NJ


The study examined the relationship between brooding, the maladaptive sub-component of depressive rumination, an important cognitive mechanism implicated in the aetiology of depression, and a range of depressogenic psychosocial factors, including insecure attachment styles and maladaptive interpersonal behaviours. It was hypothesised that brooding (but not the more adaptive reflection component) is associated with an attachment pattern characterised by fear of rejection, and an interpersonal style characterised by submissiveness. Currently depressed (n = 29), previously depressed (n = 42) and never-depressed (n = 32) adults completed self-report measures assessing depressive symptoms, rumination (brooding and reflection), attachment orientation and maladaptive interpersonal behaviours. The study hypotheses were partially supported: After controlling for gender and depressive symptoms, brooding was significantly associated with one indicator of underlying rejection concerns (rejection sensitivity, p = .05), but was not associated with another indicator of underlying rejection concerns (anxious attachment style) or with avoidant attachment style. After controlling for depressive symptoms, brooding was uniquely associated with the submissive interpersonal style (p < .01). Brooding was not correlated with needy or cold interpersonal styles after controlling for depressive symptoms.

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