Rumination, anxiety, depressive symptoms and subsequent depression in adolescents at risk for psychopathology: A longitudinal cohort study

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Abstract

Background: A ruminative style of responding to low mood is associated with subsequent high depressive symptoms and depressive disorder in children, adolescents and adults. Scores on self-report rumination scales correlate strongly with scores on anxiety and depression symptom scales. This may confound any associations between rumination and subsequent depression.Methods: Our sample comprised 658 healthy adolescents at elevated risk for psychopathology. This study applied ordinal item (non-linear) factor analysis to pooled items from three self-report questionnaires to explore whether there were separate, but correlated, constructs of rumination, depression and anxiety. It then tested whether rumination independently predicted depressive disorder and depressive symptoms over the subsequent 12 months, after adjusting for confounding variables.Results: We identified a single rumination factor, which was correlated with factors representing cognitive symptoms of depression, somatic symptoms of depression and anxiety symptoms; and one factor representing adaptive responses to low mood. Elevated rumination scores predicted onset of depressive disorders over the subsequent year (p = 0.035), and levels of depressive symptoms 12 months later (p < 0.0005), after adjustment for prior levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms.Conclusion: High rumination predicts onset of depressive disorder in healthy adolescents. Therapy that reduces rumination and increases distraction/problem-solving may reduce onset and relapse rates of depression. © 2013 Wilkinson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Wilkinson, P. O., Croudace, T. J., & Goodyer, I. M. (2013). Rumination, anxiety, depressive symptoms and subsequent depression in adolescents at risk for psychopathology: A longitudinal cohort study. BMC Psychiatry, 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-13-250

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