Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 99–107 | Cite as

Brooding and Reflection Reconsidered: A Factor Analytic Examination of Rumination in Currently Depressed, Formerly Depressed, and Never Depressed Individuals

  • Anson Whitmer
  • Ian H. Gotlib
Original Article


The tendency to engage in depressive rumination is typically measured with the Ruminative Response Styles (RRS) scale. Treynor et al. (2003) reported that this scale is composed of two 5-item factors, reflection and brooding, and that the brooding but not the reflection factor is associated with more severe depression over time. These two factors were derived using data from a randomly selected community sample, and it is not clear if these factors would be obtained in samples of currently depressed, formerly depressed, and never depressed individuals. We conducted factor analyses on scores on the RRS scale from three such samples. We found support for the distinction between reflection and brooding in never depressed and formerly depressed individuals; we did not obtain this distinct factor structure in the currently depressed sample. We did, however, find evidence of a second factor in the depressed sample that we labeled ‘intentional rumination.’ The results of this study also suggested that an item from the reflection factor should be replaced with another item from the RRS scale. These findings indicate that the distinction between brooding and reflection is blurred in currently depressed individuals.


Rumination Depression Brooding Reflection Factor analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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