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The Moderating Effects of Rumination Facets on the Relationship Between Mindfulness and Distress Reduction

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Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions have many applications, including as a productive alternative to repetitive thoughts. Rumination includes two factors: brooding (moody, maladaptive thinking) and reflection (adaptive attempt to overcome problems). Literature suggests mindfulness interventions reduce ruminative thoughts, but technique effectiveness requires examination. Our study assessed whether mindfulness techniques differ with respect to distress reduction in the context of brooding versus reflective styles. Students (N = 228) completed questionnaires, negative mood manipulation, and a one-session mindfulness training that required either focused attention or open monitoring. Induced distress was reduced in both conditions, but brooding moderated the relationship between condition and distress reduction. Reflection was not a moderator. The findings support the idea that even a modest dose of mindfulness exercise aids in reducing induced negative emotions. Focused mindfulness may be more beneficial for reducing distress in individuals who report high levels of brooding, whereas either technique may reduce distress in individuals who reflect.

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Notes

  1. Condition assignments were determined randomly prior to the session and were balanced for time of day and day of the week.

  2. The mean for the high rumination group (M = 13.47) is comparable to clinically depressed individuals (M = 12.2; Roelofs et al. 2008).

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Sara Conley, Hannah Faleer, Gina Raza, Brenda Bailey, Kevin Wu declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Conley, S.L., Faleer, H.E., Raza, G.T. et al. The Moderating Effects of Rumination Facets on the Relationship Between Mindfulness and Distress Reduction. Cogn Ther Res 42, 436–446 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-018-9896-7

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