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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Nov;77(5):1041-60.

Why ruminators are poor problem solvers: clues from the phenomenology of dysphoric rumination.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside 92521, USA.


The phenomenology of dysphoric rumination and its consequences for problem solving were explored in 3 studies. In Study 1, self-focused rumination, compared with distraction, led dysphoric participants to rate their own biggest problems as severe and unsolvable and to report a reduced likelihood of actually implementing their solutions. Clues into the mechanisms behind these findings were explored in Study 2. The results showed that dysphoric ruminative thought is characterized by a focus on personal problems combined with a negative tone, self-criticism, and self-blame for problems as well as reduced self-confidence, optimism, and perceived control. Finally, Study 3 revealed a direct relationship between the negatively biased content of ruminative thoughts and reduced willingness to solve one's problems. Implications of these findings for the consequences of self-focused rumination are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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