Rumination May Predict Manic and Depressive Episodes in People with Bipolar

Rumination is often associated with depression. People who ruminate about negative events tend to be more susceptible to develop depression. But little research has been conducted to explore how rumination affects the manic or depressive states of bipolar disorder (BD). To fill this void, June Gruber of the Psychology Department at Yale University, led a study to determine how negative and positive rumination influence the onset of episodes in people with bipolar. Emotional regulation is a main component of bipolar and strategies used to regulate emotion directly impact how an individual will respond to a mood induction. “The cognitive model of BD proposes that the use of amplification versus dampening strategies largely depends on one’s appraisals of changes in one’s internal or external state,” said Gruber.

For her study, Gruber examined the emotional regulation strategies and rumination of people with and without bipolar and found that those with BD ruminated more about both positive (RPA) and negative (RRS) emotions than the control group. “For RPA, this involved greater amplification (e.g., self-focused subscale) dampening (e.g., dampening subscales) of positive emotion, whereas for RRS it involved greater amplification of negative emotion across all subscales,” said Gruber. “It might be that those with BD use more emotion regulation strategies than do those without mood disorders, perhaps because of their frequently intense mood experiences.”

Gruber also theorized that rumination severity would correlate with illness severity. “Consistent with this prediction, RRS was associated with greater depression, but not mania, frequency,” Gruber said. “Although rumination may signal underlying emotion dysregulation that precipitates symptom exacerbation, it is also possible that those with more difficult symptom experiences adopt a broader range of emotion regulation strategies.” Gruber added, “The results suggest that individuals with BD differ in the frequency in which they ruminate but not in the amplitude of emotional response during a rumination induction. Importantly, both trait rumination and emotional responses to momentary rumination inductions are associated with illness course.”

Gruber, June, Polina Eidelman, Sheri L. Johnson, Bailey Smith, and Allison G. Harvey. “Hooked on a Feeling: Rumination about Positive and Negative Emotion in Inter-episode Bipolar Disorder.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 120.4 (2011): 956-61. Print.

© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • K.V

    December 8th, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    If ppl with BP ruminate more often then that is only worsening their situation isnt it? they will be prone to mood swings even more often! is this nt something of a catalyst to their disorder?

  • jennifer

    December 8th, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    so they experience things with more emotions, good and bad, than those without bipolar?

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