Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 231–246 | Cite as

Ruminating and Distracting: The Effects of Sequential Tasks on Depressed Mood

  • Peter C. Trask
  • Sandra T. Sigmon
Article

Abstract

Response styles theory (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1987)provided the impetus for recent research effortsinvestigating the effects of rumination and distractionon depressed mood. This study elaborates on previous research by examining the sequential effects ofengaging in ruminating and distracting tasks. Resultsfrom two studies indicated that initially engaging in aruminating task maintained postinduction levels of dysphoric mood, whereas initially engagingin a distracting task reduced levels of dysphoric mood.More important, however, were the effects of task orderon mood. When participants engaged in a distracting taskfollowing aruminating task, dysphoric mood, which had been maintainedwith a ruminating task, was reduced to premoodinductionlevels. Of equal importance, individuals who ruminatedafter distracting maintained their current mood and did not report an increase in depressedmood. In the second study, engaging in sequentialrumination tasks further prolonged depressed mood,whereas engaging in sequential distraction tasks reduceddepressed mood. The results suggest that, althoughengaging in a rumination task maintains depressed moodand engaging in a distraction task reduces it, the orderin which these tasks are performed is also important. The implications of these results for responsestyles theory are discussed.

RUMINATION RESPONSE STYLES DEPRESSED MOOD 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Bahrke, M., & Morgan, W. (1978). Anxiety reduction following exercise and meditation. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 2, 323–333.Google Scholar
  2. Beck, A. T., & Steer, R. A. (1987). The Beck Depression Inventory Manual. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  3. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Garbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77–100.Google Scholar
  4. Bower, G. (1981). Mood and memory. American Psychologist, 36, 129–148.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, L. D., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1994). Gender differences in responses to depressed mood in a college sample. Sex Roles, 30, 331–346.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, D. M. (1983). On the induction of depressed mood in the laboratory: Evaluation and comparison of the Velten and musical procedures. Advances in Behavioral Research and Therapy, 5, 27–49.Google Scholar
  7. Doerfler, L. A., & Richards, C. S. (1983). College women coping with depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 21, 221–224.Google Scholar
  8. Ellis, H., & Ashbrook, P. (1988). Resource allocation model of the effects of depressed mood states on memory. In K. Fiedler & J. Forgas (Eds.), Affect, cognition and social behavior (pp. 1–21). Toronto: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  9. Funabiki, D., Bologna, N. C., Pepping, M., & Fitzgerald, K. C. (1980). Revisiting sex differences in the expression of depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 89, 194–202.Google Scholar
  10. Lewinsohn, P., Hoberman, H., Teri, L., & Hautzinge r, M. (1985). An integrative theory of depression. In S. Reiss & R. Bootzin (Eds.), Theoretical issues in Behavior therapy (pp. 331–359). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  11. Lubin, B. (1981). Manual for the depression adjective check lists. San Diego: Educational and Industrial Testing Service.Google Scholar
  12. Lyubomirsky, S. & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1993). Self-perpetuating properties of dysphoric rumination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 339–349.Google Scholar
  13. McDaniel, D. M., & Richards, C. S. (1990). Coping with dysphoria: Gender differences in college students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 46, 896–899.Google Scholar
  14. Morrow, J., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1990). Effects of responses to depression on the remediation of depressive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 519–527.Google Scholar
  15. Musson, R., & Alloy, L. (1988). Depression and self-directed attention. In L. Alloy (Ed.), Cognitive processes in depression (pp. 193–220). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  16. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1987). Sex differences in unipolar depression: Evidence and theory. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 259–282.Google Scholar
  17. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1991). Responses to depression and their effects on the duration of depressive episodes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 569–582.Google Scholar
  18. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1991). A prospective study of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after a natural disaster: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 115–121.Google Scholar
  19. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1993). Effects of rumination and distraction on naturally-occurring depressed mood. Cognition and Emotion, 7, 561–570.Google Scholar
  20. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Morrow, J., & Fredrickson, B. L. (1993). Response styles and the duration of episodes of depressed mood. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 102, 20–28.Google Scholar
  21. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Parker, L. E., & Larson, J. (1994). Ruminative coping with depressed mood following loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 92–104.Google Scholar
  22. Persons, J. (1986). The advantages of studying psychological phenomena rather than psychiatric diagnoses. American Psychologist, 41, 1252–1260.Google Scholar
  23. Rehm, L. P. (1986). A self-control model of depression. In J. C. Coyne (Ed.), Essential papers on depression (pp. 220–239). New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Teasdale, J. (1985). Psychological treatments for depression: How do they work? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 23, 157–165.Google Scholar
  25. Teasdale, J. (1988). Cognitive vulnerability to persistent depression. Cognition and Emotion, 2, 247–274.Google Scholar
  26. Teasdale, J., & Russell, M. (1982). Differential effects of induced mood on the recall of positive, negative, and neutral words. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 22, 163–171.Google Scholar
  27. Teasdale, J., & Taylor, R. (1981). Induced mood and accessibility of memories: An effect of mood state or of mood induction procedure. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 20, 39–48.Google Scholar
  28. Velten, E. (1968). A laboratory task for induction of mood states. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 6, 473–482.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. Trask
  • Sandra T. Sigmon

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations