Rumination Mediates the Relationship Between Negative Affect and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Female Interpersonal Trauma Survivors

Wilson J. Brown, Melanie D. Hetzel-Riggin, Melissa A. Mitchell, Steven E. Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Prior research has identified both rumination and negative affect (NA) as dimensional constructs related to the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While both dimensions demonstrate significant positive relationships with symptoms of PTSD, the relationship between the two within the context of the disorder has yet to be explored. Consistent with prior research in the social anxiety literature, the present study seeks to examine a model of mediation by which rumination accounts for the significant relationship between NA and PTSD symptoms. Participants included 65 female interpersonal trauma survivors diagnosed with PTSD using structured, clinician-administered interviews. Both NA and rumination were observed as significant predictors of PTSD symptoms, and the variables were significantly associated with each other. However, NA was no longer a significant predictor of PTSD symptoms when rumination was entered into the mediation model, suggesting full mediation of the relationship by rumination. Results from the current study suggest a complex relationship between NA and rumination in interpersonal trauma survivors with PTSD, such that a ruminative cognitive coping style may either mitigate or exacerbate PTSD symptoms in the presence of sustained negative emotion. The current findings provide support for a cognitive model of PTSD, within which PTSD symptoms are influenced via negative, ruminative cognitions. Primary implications of these results include (a) the consideration of assessment of rumination in interpersonal trauma survivors with PTSD in clinical settings; (b) the selection of treatment that may address a ruminative cognitive style in this population, given the mediation between subjective distress and PTSD symptoms by rumination; and (c) the necessity for the validation of this mediation model within other traumatized populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6418-6439
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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