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Eur J Rheumatol. 2015 Dec;2(4):143-148. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

Rumination modulates stress and other psychological processes in fibromyalgia.

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Departments of Medicine and Rheumatology, Monash University and Monash Health, Melbourne, Australia.



Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by widespread pain and high levels of sleep disturbance, fatigue, and altered cognition. Psychological stress can modulate these features. In this study, we examined the thinking style of rumination in women with FM to assess the effect of rumination on stress levels and other psychological variables in FM.


Ninety-eight women with FM completed questionnaires to assess levels of rumination, stress, anxiety, depression, optimism, control, and coping. T-tests and bivariate (Pearson) analysis was performed to assess relationships between rumination and other psychological factors.


We found that those with higher levels of rumination had increased the use of negative coping techniques (p<0.001), higher anxiety (p<0.001), depression (p<0.001), and poor sleep levels (p<0.05). Higher rumination correlated with lower optimism (p<0.001) and control (Mastery) (p<0.001). High rumination correlated strongest with stress (p<0.001). Rumination predicted 26% of variance for perceived stress.


Rumination influenced several psychological processes deemed important in FM and was an important contributor to stress in FM. Specific interventions targeting rumination in FM may improve FM symptoms and outcomes.


Fibromyalgia; attitude; clinical features; pain; rumination; stress

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