The relationship between rumination, dysphoria, and self-referent thinking: some preliminary findings

Smallwood, J., Obsonsawin, M., Baracaia, S. F., Reid, H., O'Connor, R. and Heim, D. (2003) The relationship between rumination, dysphoria, and self-referent thinking: some preliminary findings. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 22(4), pp. 317-342. (doi:10.2190/2N80-AVM3-4A23-LEAJ)

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Abstract

Rumination has recently been conceptualized as “behaviors and thoughts that focus one's attention on one's depressive symptoms and on the implication of these symptoms” [1, p. 569). In this article, we describe current theoretical formulations about how a ruminative processing style interacts with a dysphoric mood to yield high levels of self-relevant thinking. In the subsequent sections, we describe three experiments, the results of which broadly support a combination of two themes described in the literature: (i) that rumination, in the absence of dysphoria, seems to be associated with high levels of task focus, consistent with the attentional inflexibility hypothesis; and (ii) that we can distinguish between the effects of rumination and dysphoria in terms of their contributions to the content of a self-referential thinking. In particular, dysphoria seems to be associated with higher levels of pre-occupation with one's concerns while rumination, particularly in the presence of a dysphoric mood, seems to be associated with a pre-occupation with one's own performance: a finding consistent with the mood as input hypothesis for rumination. The theoretical implications for these findings are discussed, and we outline two important issues for future research to tackle.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:O'Connor, Professor Rory
Authors: Smallwood, J., Obsonsawin, M., Baracaia, S. F., Reid, H., O'Connor, R., and Heim, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Imagination, Cognition and Personality
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0276-2366
ISSN (Online):1541-4477
Published Online:01 June 2003

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