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Worry and rumination: Differential associations with anxious and depressive symptoms and coping behavior

Ryan Y. Hong

Revue : Behaviour Research and Therapy

Worry and rumination are closely allied cognitive processes that impact on the experience of anxious and depressive symptoms. Using a prospective design, this study examined overlapping and distinct features of worry and rumination in relation to symptoms and coping behavior in a nonclinical sample of Singaporean college students. Worry and rumination were highly correlated, but they retained distinct components that predicted anxious and depressive symptoms differentially within and across time. Specifically, worry was uniquely associated with anxious and depressive symptoms whereas rumination was uniquely related to depression. In comparison to rumination, worry emerged as the dominant cognitive vulnerability factor that predicted increments in symptoms over time. With regards to coping behavior, low perceived coping effectiveness partially mediated the relation between worry and increases in anxiety and depression. Conversely, rumination uniquely predicted higher disengagement from problems, which resulted in further exacerbation of depressive mood. These results demonstrated not only the distinct features of worry and rumination on coping behavior, but also the different coping pathways by which they differentially impact on subsequent symptoms.

Keywords: Worry; Rumination; Anxiety; Depression; Coping

Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 45, Issue 2 , February 2007, Pages 277-290

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