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Cogn Emot. 2017 Dec;31(8):1757-1767. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2016.1262332. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

Daily and trait rumination: diurnal cortisol patterns in adolescent girls.

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a Department of Psychology , Lawrence University , Appleton , WI , USA.
b Department of Psychology , Arizona State University , Tempe , AZ , USA.
c Department of Psychology , Williams College , Williamstown , MA , USA.


Rumination is a maladaptive form of emotion regulation associated with psychopathology. Research with adults suggests that rumination covaries with diurnal cortisol rhythms, yet this has not been examined among adolescents. Here, we examine the day-to-day covariation between rumination and cortisol, and explore whether trait rumination is associated with alterations in diurnal cortisol rhythms among adolescent girls. Participants (Nā€‰=ā€‰122) provided saliva samples 3 times per day over 3 days, along with daily reports of stress and rumination, questionnaires assessing trait rumination related to peer stress, and diagnostic interviews assessing depression and anxiety. Greater rumination than usual during the day was associated with lower cortisol awakening responses the following morning, but this effect was not significant after accounting for wake time and an objective measure of adherence to the saliva sampling protocol. Trait rumination was associated with lower average cortisol levels at waking and flatter diurnal slopes, accounting for wake time, protocol compliance, and other factors. These patterns may help to explain why rumination is related to the development of psychopathology.


Cortisol; HPA axis; adolescence; rumination; stress

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