The Role of Rumination and Reduced Concreteness in the Maintenance of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression Following Trauma.
Ehring T., Frank S., Ehlers A.
Rumination has been linked to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression following trauma. A cross-sectional (N = 101) and a prospective longitudinal study (N = 147) of road traffic accident survivors assessed rumination, PTSD and depression with self-report measures and structured interviews. We tested the hypotheses that (1) rumination predicts the maintenance of PTSD and depression and (2) reduced concreteness of ruminative thinking may be a maintaining factor. Rumination significantly predicted PTSD and depression at 6 months over and above what could be predicted from initial symptom levels. In contrast to the second hypothesis, reduced concreteness in an iterative rumination task was not significantly correlated with self-reported rumination frequency, and did not consistently correlate with symptom severity measures. However, multiple regression analyses showed that the combination of reduced concreteness and self-reported frequency of rumination predicted subsequent PTSD better than rumination frequency alone. The results support the view that rumination is an important maintaining factor of trauma-related emotional disorders.