Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Psychology, Clinical-Community

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Ann M. Steffen, Ph.D.


Jean Bachman, D.S.N., RN

Terri Conley

Susan Kashubeck-West


Rumination has been found to play a role in negative affect by either maintaining or increasing depressive, anxious, and angry moods, whereas distraction has been found to decrease these negative moods. This experiment tested the hypothesis that the effect of rumination occurs across mood states and is not specific to one type of negative mood, using both Nolen-Hoeksema¿s Response Styles Theory (RST; 1991), and Bower¿s Associative Network Theory (1981; ANT). The impact of rumination and distraction on depressed, anxious, and angry mood states were examined in 90 women at the University of Missouri ¿ St. Louis. Participants were randomly placed in 1of 3 mood inductions (depressed, anxious, or angry), and in either a rumination or distraction response task. Mood was assessed using the Profile of Mood Scales, Brief Form (POMS-B; McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1992) at 3 times; baseline, post-mood induction, and post-response task. Consistent with Bower¿s ANT (1981), repeated measures multivariate analyses of variance showed that all negative moods increased following the negative mood induction, regardless of the particular mood induced. However, the data did not fully support Nolan-Hoeksema¿s RST (1991); negative mood did not increase following the rumination task, but instead decreased. Following the distraction task, mood was significantly lower than at baseline, suggesting that distraction appeared to have some positive induction qualities. Overall, these findings support Bower¿s ANT and offer only partial support for Nolen-Hoeksema¿s RST; potential alternative explanations for the results are discussed.

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