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Int J Psychophysiol. 2009 Nov;74(2):166-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2009.08.008. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

Psychological and cumulative cardiovascular effects of repeated angry rumination and visuospatial suppression.

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School of Psychology, Deakin University, Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, Melbourne, Australia.


Brooding rumination is associated with depressed mood, increased negative affect, prolonged anger and inhibited cardiovascular (CV) recovery. Distraction from rumination on a stressful interpersonal encounter is associated with faster CV recovery and decreased negative affect. Studies have suggested that a concurrent visuospatial (VS) task inhibits the maintenance of imagery associated with the perseveration of intrusive negative memories. 120 healthy participants were recruited for the study. As an analogue of repeated angry rumination, the authors explored the effects of repeated visual recall of a provocative confederate and the subsequent impact of two visuospatial (VS) distraction tasks on negative affect, blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR). Repeated recall of the provocation generated repeatedly elevated HR with a cumulative trend that may have CV disease risk implications for chronic ruminators. VS distraction did not aid recovery compared with the Control task.

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