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Rumination and Experiential Avoidance in Depression

  • Gemille Cribb (a1), Michelle L. Moulds (a2) and Sally Carter (a3)

Recent investigations have demonstrated a renewed interest in the role of avoidance in depression; however, little is known of which specific forms of avoidance — cognitive, behavioural or experiential — are important in this context. This study examined (a) the relationship between depression, rumination and these subtypes of avoidance, and (b) the proposal that the abstract/analytical nature of ruminative thought is linked to experiential avoidance. A nonclinical sample (N = 101) of undergraduate students completed self-report measures of depression, rumination, avoidance and mood state and viewed a low mood emotion-eliciting video stimulus. Participants' written summary of the film clip was independently rated for the degree to which it was abstract or concrete. Rumination, depression and cognitive, behavioural and experiential avoidance were all significantly correlated and remained so when anxiety was controlled. Further, reduced concreteness of description of the film clip was associated with experiential avoidance and rumination. Taken together, the findings underscore the value of clinicians being attentive to experiential avoidance in the assessment and treatment of depression.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Michelle L. Moulds, School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia.
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Behaviour Change
  • ISSN: 0813-4839
  • EISSN: 2049-7768
  • URL: /core/journals/behaviour-change
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