Rumination May Affect Mood in Nondepressed Individuals

Rumination is a core component of depression. The act of focusing on negative feelings borne of a negative event rather than shifting attention away from the feelings or engaging adaptive coping strategies is the act of ruminating. This behavior has been shown to be especially prevalent in the onset and maintenance of depressive symptoms. For instance, people with depression tend to focus on the negative emotions they experience after an event more than people who are not depressed. Research on depression and other mood problems such as anxiety have provided evidence of the influence of rumination. But few studies have looked at how rumination affects mood under normal daily conditions.

To get a clearer picture of the effects of rumination during daily life, Jessica J. Genet of the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami recently led a study that evaluated rumination and mood in 157 college students. The students recorded their daily moods and any negative events that occurred in a diary over the course of 6 days. When Genet assessed the diaries, she found that those with the lowest moods and the most negative emotional states had engaged in the highest levels of rumination. In particular, events that were similar in nature were seen as more negative by the ruminating participants and resulted in poorer moods than in those who did not ruminate.

The use of daily diaries provides a novel view into the real-time impact of rumination. In clinical settings, rumination has been shown to significantly exacerbate the negative symptoms of depression. Now, with the findings of this study, it can also be suggested that daily rumination can set the stage for negative mood outcomes in nondepressed individuals as well. Genet hopes that these results provide further evidence that negative situations and events do not themselves create negative moods. “Rather, the degree to which people respond to these events with non-effective or dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies, like rumination, appears to be the critical factor which determines affective outcomes,” said Genet.

Genet, J. J., Siemer, M. (2012). Rumination moderates the effects of daily events on negative mood: Results from a diary study. Emotion. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0028070

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  • Gage


    July 20th, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I can’t sit around and dwell on all of the negative emotions and things that life throws at me.
    Obviously, if I dwell on the negative then that is ultimately how I am going to come to feel myself.
    You have to accentuate the postive. If you are not willing or able to do that, then you have to know that this kind of sadness is going to be ahead for you.

  • Nicole


    July 20th, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    When something very bad happens there is this cloud that forms over my head and I just cannot seem to be able to get rid of it.It troubles me,doesnt let me do anything else and I find myself dwelling into negative thoughts.It is not something I do on purpose but its almost automatic.Its almost like I am unable to stop thinking negatively!Let me tell you something – It is not pleasant though :|

  • grace george

    grace george

    July 21st, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    Getting caught in that cycle of focusing only on the negative is dangerous to both sick and healthy minds. That kind of rumination is enough to send even the healthiest individual into a dangerous pattern.

  • E.Z


    July 21st, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Rumination is like pushing yourself into a room where there are unfavorable conditions.You can choose to walk out but if you do turn around and go back to that room it is only going to hurt you.

    I’ve been through this and all I want to say to anybody in a similar situation is to try and walk away from that room and look for better things.You are not going to gain anything by going back into that room, only more pain.

  • Oliver


    July 23rd, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    This is yet another way in which depressed individuals still have to suffer. When ledt untreated they have a difficult time escaoing the pain because of the ways in which they tend to sty focused on so much of the engative feelings that they are having. I think that this is probably a big reason why so many of them will eventually turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to try to escape some of the pain that they are always feeling.

  • noelle g

    noelle g

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:31 AM

    If you see someone having problems with this sit them down and talk it out! Who knows? If you sit down and start to help them work through this, you might could actually get them to seek help a little sooner and stop that spin into depression from getting as bad as it could.

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