Responses to Positive Affect in Daily Life: Positive Rumination and Dampening Moderate the Association Between Daily Events and Depressive Symptoms

  • Y. Irina LiEmail author
  • Lisa R. Starr
  • Rachel Hershenberg


Depressive rumination has been strongly linked to the development and maintenance of depression; however, less attention has been paid to ruminative processes in response to positive affect, and fewer have examined these processes in daily life. The current study sought to address these gaps by exploring depressive rumination and two forms of responses to positive affect, dampening and positive rumination, under ecologically valid conditions using daily diary methodology. One hundred fifty-seven young adults completed 14-day end-of-day diaries assessing positive affect and depressive symptoms in relation to depressive rumination, responses to positive affect, and daily positive and negative events. Daily depressive rumination predicted stronger associations between negative events and daily depressive symptoms. Higher daily dampening was associated with higher daily depressive symptoms and decreased positive affect and predicted lower associations between daily positive events and improvements in mood (including reduced daily positive affect and increased daily depressive symptoms). Higher daily positive rumination was negatively associated with daily depressive symptoms and interacted with daily positive events such that positive rumination had a greater impact on depressed mood on days when positive experiences were low. Results indicate that both depressive rumination and responses to positive affect play a role in influencing daily mood and depressive symptoms.


Depression Positive affect Emotion regulation Positive rumination Dampening Daily diary 



We would like to thank Fanny Mlawer and Christopher Anazalone for their assistance with data collection, and Catherine Glenn for her comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Portions of these findings were presented at the 2015 Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in Chicago, IL.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Y. Irina Li, Lisa R. Starr, and Rachel Hershenberg declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Experiment Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/ or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


This research was supported by funds from the University of Rochester.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Irina Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lisa R. Starr
    • 1
  • Rachel Hershenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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