An experiential avoidance conceptualization of depressive rumination: Three tests of the model

Jeannette M. Giorgio, Jacqueline Sanflippo, Evan Kleiman, Dan Reilly, Rachel E. Bender, Clara A. Wagner, Richard T. Liu, Lauren B. Alloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


This study examined an experiential avoidance conceptualization of depressive rumination in 3 ways: 1) associations among questionnaire measures of rumination, experiential avoidance, and fear of emotions; 2) performance on a dichotic listening task that highlights preferences for non-depressive material; and 3) psychophysiological reactivity in an avoidance paradigm modeled after the one used by Borkovec, Lyonfields, Wiser, and Deihl (1993) in their examination of worry. One hundred and thirty-eight undergraduates completed questionnaire measures and participated in a clinical interview to diagnose current and past episodes of depression. Of those, 100 were randomly assigned to a rumination or relaxation induction condition and participated in a dichotic listening task, rumination/relaxation induction, and depression induction. Questionnaire measures confirmed a relationship between rumination status and avoidance; however, no significant effects were found in the dichotic listening task. Psychophysiological measures indicated no difference in physiological response to a depression induction among high ruminators (HR). However, low ruminators (LR) in the relaxation condition exhibited a larger IBI response than LR in the rumination condition. Overall, these results provide partial support for an avoidance conceptualization of depressive rumination. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1031
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Experiential avoidance
  • Rumination
  • Worry


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