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Rumination Prospectively Predicts Executive Functioning Impairments in Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry Volume: 45 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 46-56
Samantha L. Connolly; Clara A. Wagner; Benjamin G. Shapero; Laura L. Pendergast; Lyn Y. Abramson; Lauren B. Alloy
Date Published
March 2014
11 pages
This study examined whether baseline "rumination" (recurring thoughts about the symptoms, causes and future repercussions of one's depression) or depressive symptom levels predict deficits in executive functions (cognitive impairments).
The study found that adolescents with higher levels of baseline rumination exhibited decreases in selective attention and "attentional switching" at follow-up. Rumination did not predict changes in working memory or sustained and divided attention. Depressive symptoms did not predict significant changes in executive functioning scores at follow-up. Baseline executive functioning was not associated with changes in rumination or depression over time. These findings partially support the resource allocation hypothesis, which states that engaging in rumination thoughts consumes cognitive resources that would otherwise be applied to difficult tests of cognitive functioning. Support was not found for the alternative hypothesis that lower levels of initial executive functioning would predict increased rumination or depressive symptoms at follow-up. The study was conducted with a community sample of 200 adolescents (ages 12-13), who completed measures of depressive symptoms, rumination, and executive functioning at baseline and at a follow-up session approximately 15 months later. 4 tables and 69 references