Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Rumination, or dwelling repeatedly on negative thoughts about the past, can prolong depression and make it worse. When treating clients with depression, it can be important to consider the behavioural, cognitive and emotional impact of rumination on their life. Previous research has examined adult experience of rumination, but the current study was the first to examine how young people with depression experience rumination. Seven young people with depression were interviewed about the cognitive content of their rumination episodes, the associated feelings, and any behavioural start and stop triggers. Interview transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Participants reported experiencing rumination as a disorientating cognitive battle, in which they felt under attack. The process elicited sadness predominantly, but also anger and anxiety, with mood and rumination often maintaining each other. Interpersonal interaction played a key role in starting and stopping rumination episodes. CBT-based interventions specifically targeting the ruminative process may be important for young people with depression, particularly interventions which consider the impact of family members or other systemic factors on rumination behaviour.

Original publication




Journal article


Cognitive Behaviour Therapist

Publication Date