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01-08-2008 | Uitgave 4/2008

Cognitive Therapy and Research 4/2008

A “Triple W”-Model of Rumination on Sadness: Why Am I Feeling Sad, What’s the Meaning of My Sadness, and Wish I Could Stop Thinking About my Sadness (But I Can’t!)

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 4/2008
Filip Raes, Dirk Hermans, J. Mark G. Williams, Patricia Bijttebier, Paul Eelen


Depressive rumination has been found to be a critical factor in the onset and maintenance of depression [for a recent review, see Nolen-Hoeksema, In C. Papageorgiou, & A. Wells (Eds.), Depressive rumination: Nature, theory, and treatment (pp. 107–124). Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2004], but an issue still to be resolved is whether some aspects of depressive rumination are more damaging than others. Some studies have found depressive rumination to have a single factor, others describe several dimensions. This study addresses (a) whether a single or multi-factorial model is most appropriate, and if so, (b) which aspect of depressive rumination is the most pathological. In Study One, a measure of depressive rumination, the Rumination on Sadness Scale (RSS; Conway, Csank, Holm, & Blake, Journal of Personality Assessment, 75, 404–425, 2000), was given to 152 students (128 women). Reliability and validity for the RSS was corroborated. The RSS was then used to further investigate the multi-component nature of depressive rumination. Confirmatory Factor Analyses on the RSS revealed a three-factor solution; “ruminating about the reasons for my sadness” (Causal Analysis), “ruminating about the meaning of my sadness” (Understanding), and “uncontrollability of this ruminative thinking on my sadness” (Uncontrollability). In order to strengthen the three subscales, eight new items were added. Four items of the original RSS were deleted. In Study 2, using this extended scale (Leuven Adaptation of the Rumination on Sadness Scale; LARSS), the three-factor model was replicated in a second sample (N = 219). Depressive symptoms and the tendency to suppress negative thinking (Wenzlaff & Luxton, Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27, 293–308, 2003) were associated with Uncontrollability of ruminative thinking. Results confirm the importance of distinguishing different components in depressive rumination and tentatively suggest that the meta-ruminative factor, uncontrollability of rumination, is particularly problematic.

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