The pivotal role of rumination in relation to other coping strategies was assessed in chronically depressed (dysthymic disorder) individuals versus nondepressed controls. Individuals with dysthymia demonstrated elevated use of rumination and other emotion-focused strategies (emotional expression, emotional containment, self- and other-blame). Among patients with dysthymia, rumination was linked to this limited array of emotion-focused efforts and diminished use of cognitive disengagement, whereas among controls, rumination was correlated with a broad constellation of problem- and emotion-focused strategies. Following 12 weeks of pharmacotherapy (sertraline), despite attenuation of depressed mood and reduced rumination, the limited relations between rumination and emotion-focused efforts persisted. Inflexibility in the ability to combine various coping efforts effectively may be characteristic of individuals with dysthymia, potentially increasing risk for recurrence.
- Social functioning