Neural Correlates of Trait Rumination During an Emotion Interference Task in Women With PTSD

Katherine R. Buchholz, Steven E. Bruce, Ellen M. Koucky, Tiffany M. Artime, Jessica A. Wojtalik, Wilson J. Brown, Yvette I. Sheline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Rumination, defined as repetitive, negative, self-focused thinking, is hypothesized to be a transdiagnostic factor that is associated with depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Theory has suggested that in individuals with PTSD, rumination serves as a cognitive avoidance factor that contributes to the maintenance of symptoms by inhibiting the cognitive and emotional processing of the traumatic event, subsequently interfering with treatment engagement and outcome. Little is known about the neural correlates of rumination in women with PTSD. The current study utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine neural correlates during an emotion interference task of self-reported rumination in women with PTSD. Women with PTSD (39 participants) were recruited at a university-based trauma clinic and completed a clinical evaluation that included measures of PTSD symptoms, rumination, and depressive symptoms, as well as a neuroimaging session in which the participants were administered an emotion interference task. There was a significant relationship between self-reported rumination and activity in the right orbital frontal cortex, BA 11; t(37) = 5.62, p = .004, k = 46 during the task. This finding suggested that women with PTSD, who had higher levels of rumination, may experience greater difficulty inhibiting negative emotional stimuli compared to women with lower levels of rumination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-324
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of traumatic stress
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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