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Clin Psychol Sci. 2016 Nov;4(6):971-987. doi: 10.1177/2167702616638825. Epub 2016 Jun 15.

A Twin Study Examining Rumination as a Transdiagnostic Correlate of Psychopathology.

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Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado Boulder.
Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado Boulder.
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder.


This study examined the genetic and environmental influences on rumination and its associations with several forms of psychopathology in a sample of adult twins (N = 744). Rumination was significantly associated with major depressive disorder, depressive symptoms, generalized anxiety disorder, eating pathology, and substance dependence symptoms. There were distinct patterns of etiological overlap between rumination and each form of psychopathology; rumination had considerable genetic overlap with depression, modest genetic overlap with eating pathology, and almost no genetic overlap with substance dependence. Findings further suggest considerable overlap between genetic and environmental influences on rumination and those contributing to the covariance between forms of psychopathology. Results were specific to ruminative thought and did not extend to self-reflection. These findings support the conceptualization of rumination as a transdiagnostic correlate and risk factor for psychopathology and also suggest that the biological and environmental mechanisms linking rumination to psychopathology may differ depending on the disorder.


comorbidity; depression; rumination; transdiagnostic; twin study

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