Worry and rumination enhance a positive emotional contrast based on the framework of the Contrast Avoidance Model

Hanjoo Kim, Michelle G. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The Contrast Avoidance Model (CAM) suggests that worry increases negative affect and decreases positive affect. CAM also suggests that in response to a positive event, higher worry enhances the probability of experiencing greater decreased negative affect and increased positive affect (positive emotional contrasts; PECs). Consequently, worrying may be reinforced by repeated PECs. However, no study has tested whether rumination enhances PECs. Also, emotional specificity in these processes has not been considered. Therefore, we tested whether both rumination and worry enhanced PECs related to specific emotions. After resting baseline, participants with pure generalized anxiety disorder (GAD group, n = 91), pure depression symptoms (depression group, n = 91), and non-GAD and non-depressed healthy controls (HCs, n = 93) engaged with randomly assigned induction tasks (either worry, rumination, or relaxation), and then watched an amusement video. Regardless of group, both worry and rumination increased sadness and fear and decreased amusement more than relaxation from baseline. However, worry increased fear more than rumination, and rumination increased sadness more than worry. Although all inductions led to PECs during the video, worry enhanced fear PECs more than rumination, and rumination enhanced sadnessPECs more than worry. The GAD group who worried experienced the most salient PEC of amusement relative to other groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102671
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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