Advertisement

Depressogenic Attributional Style and Depressive Symptoms in Chinese University Students: The Role of Rumination and Distraction

  • Junyi Wang
  • Xiaoyu Wang
  • Chad M. McWhinnie
  • Jing XiaoEmail author
Article
  • 88 Downloads

Abstract

The objective of the current study was to test the hypothesis that rumination and distraction mediate the relationship between depressogenic attributional style and depressive symptoms. 1017 university students recruited from two universities (90.0% Han and 10.0% ethnic minority) in China, completed questionnaires that measured depressogenic attributional style (Cognitive Style Questionnaire), depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) and rumination and distraction (Response Styles Questionnaire). Direct effects and the mediation model were evaluated via both linear regression analyses and Sobel tests. The rumination subscale of the RSQ was significantly positively correlated with the CESD and subscales of CSQ. However, the distraction subscale of the RSQ was significantly negatively correlated with the CESD and all subscales of the CSQ, except for the subscale of self. Higher levels of depressogenic attributional styles were associated with higher levels of rumination response style. In contrast, lower levels of CSQ-cause, CSQ-consequences, and CSQ-total were associated with higher levels of distraction response style. Higher levels of rumination response style were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. However, higher levels of distraction response style were associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms. The obtained results of Sobel tests confirmed that rumination partly mediated the relationship between depressogenic attributional style and depressive symptoms. The present results suggest that rumination but not distraction may mediate the relationship between depressogenic attributional style and depressive symptoms; additionally, rumination contributes to the negative outcomes of depressive symptoms.

Keywords

Rumination Distraction Attributional style Depressive symptoms Mediation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, and MOE (Ministry of Education in China) project of Humanities and Social Sciences (Project No. 16YJA190008) awarded to Prof. Jing Xiao, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31771223) awarded to Prof. Jing Xiao, and the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (TJSH20161002801) awarded to Jin Luo.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. Abela, J. R., Aydin, C. M., & Auerbach, R. P. (2007). Responses to depression in children: Reconceptualizing the relation among response styles. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35(6), 913–927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abela, J. R., Brozina, K., & Haigh, E. P. (2002). An examination of the response styles theory of depression in third- and seventh-grade children: A short-term longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30(5), 515–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abela, J. R., & Hankin, B. L. (2011). Rumination as a vulnerability factor to depression during the transition from early to middle adolescence: A multiwave longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(2), 259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Abela, J. R., Stolow, D., Mineka, S., Yao, S., Zhu, X. Z., & Hankin, B. L. (2011). Cognitive vulnerability to depressive symptoms in adolescents in urban and rural Hunan, China: A multiwave longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(4), 765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Abramson, L. Y., Alloy, L. B., Hankin, B. L., Haeffel, G. J., Maccoon, D. G., & Gibb, B. E. (2002). Cognitive vulnerability-stress models of depression in a self-regulatory and psychobiological context. In I. H. Gotlib & C. L. Hammen (Eds.), Handbook of depression (pp. 268–294). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  6. Abramson, L. Y., Metalsky, G. I., & Alloy, L. B. (1989). Hopelessness depression: A theory-based subtype of depression. Psychological Review, 96, 358–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Aldao, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 217–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Hogan, M. E., Whitehouse, W. G., Rose, D. T., Robinson, M. S., et al. (2000). The temple-wisconsin cognitive vulnerability to depression project: Lifetime history of axis I psychopathology in individuals at high and low cognitive risk for depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109(3), 403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bagby, R. M., Rector, N. A., Segal, Z. V., Joffe, R. T., Levitt, A. J., Kennedy, S. H., et al. (1999). Rumination and distraction in major depression: Assessing response to pharmacological treatment. Journal of Affective Disorders, 55(2–3), 225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Butler, L., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1994). Gender differences in responses to depressed mood in a college sample. Sex Roles, 30, 331–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, S. X., Cheung, F. M., Bond, M. H., & Leung, J. P. (2005). Decomposing the construct of ambivalence over emotional expression in a chinese cultural context. European Journal of Personality, 19(3), 185–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ciesla, J. A., & Roberts, J. E. (2002). Self-directed thought and response to treatment for depression: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 16, 435–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Flynn, M., Kecmanovic, J., & Alloy, L. B. (2010). An examination of integrated cognitive-interpersonal vulnerability to depression: The role of rumination, perceived social support, and interpersonal stress generation. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 34(5), 456–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guo, C., Tomson, G., Keller, C., & Söderqvist, F. (2018). Prevalence and correlates of positive mental health in chinese adolescents. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huffziger, S., & Kuehner, C. (2009). Rumination, distraction, and mindful self-focus in depressed patients. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47(3), 224–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ingram, R. E., Miranda, J., & Segal, Z. V. (1998). Cognitive vulnerability to depression. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  17. Just, N., & Alloy, L. B. (1997). The response styles theory of depression: Tests and an extension of the theory. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 221–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kleiman, E. M., & Riskind, J. H. (2012). Cognitive vulnerability to comorbidity: Looming cognitive style and depressive cognitive style as synergistic predictors of anxiety and depression symptoms. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 43(4), 1109–1114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kuehner, C., & Weber, I. (1999). Responses to depression in unipolar depressed patients: An investigation of Nolen-Hoeksema’s response styles theory. Psychological Medicine, 29(06), 1323–1333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kuyken, W., Watkins, E., Holden, E., & Cook, W. (2006). Rumination in adolescents at risk for depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 96(1), 39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lo, C. S. L., Ho, S. M. Y., & Hollon, S. D. (2008). The effects of rumination and negative cognitive styles on depression: A mediation analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 487–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lo, C. S., Ho, S. M., & Hollon, S. D. (2010). The effects of rumination and depressive symptoms on the prediction of negative attributional style among college students. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 34(2), 116–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Girgus, J. S., & Seligman, M. E. P. (1992). Predictors and consequences of childhood depressive symptoms: A 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 405–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1991). A prospective study of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after a natural disaster: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 115–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1993). Effects of rumination and distraction on naturally occurring depressed mood. Cognition and Emotion, 7, 561–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nolenhoeksema, S., Morrow, J., & Fredrickson, B. L. (1993). Response styles and the duration of episodes of depressed mood. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 102(1), 20–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pössel, P., & Winkeljohn Black, S. (2017). Can the hopelessness model of depression and response style theory be integrated? Journal of Counseling & Development, 95(2), 180–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods Instruments and Computers, 36, 717–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Radloff, L. S. (1991). The use of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale in adolescents and young adults. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 20, 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Reilly, L. C., Ciesla, J. A., Felton, J. W., Weitlauf, A. S., & Anderson, N. L. (2012). Cognitive vulnerability to depression: A comparison of the weakest link, keystone and additive models. Cognition and Emotion, 26(3), 521–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roberts, J. E., Gilboa, E., & Gotlib, I. H. (1998). Ruminative response style and vulnerability to episodes of dysphoria: Gender, neuroticism, and episode duration. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22(4), 401–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Robinson, M. S., & Alloy, L. B. (2003). Negative cognitive styles and stress-reactive rumination interact to predict depression: A prospective study. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27(3), 275–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Roelofs, J., Rood, L., Meesters, C., te Dorsthorst, V., Bögels, S., Alloy, L. B., et al. (2009). The influence of rumination and distraction on depressed and anxious mood: A prospective examination of the response styles theory in children and adolescents. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 18(10), 635–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rood, L., Roelofs, J., Bögels, S. M., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schouten, E. (2009). The influence of emotion-focused rumination and distraction on depressive symptoms in non-clinical youth: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 607–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sarin, S., Abela, J. R. Z., & Auerbach, R. P. (2005). The response styles theory of depression: A test of specificity and causal mediation. Cognition and Emotion, 19(5), 751–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Spasojevic, J., & Alloy, L. B. (2001). Rumination as a common mechanism relating depressive risk factors to depression. Emotion, 1, 25–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tanovic, E., Hajcak, G., & Sanislow, C. A. (2017). Rumination is associated with diminished performance monitoring. Emotion, 17(6), 953–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Triandis, H. C. (1996). The psychological measurement of cultural syndromes. American Psychologist, 51(4), 407–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang, J., Wang, D., Cui, L., Mcwhinnie, C. M., Wang, L., & Xiao, J. (2017). The “weakest link” as an indicator of cognitive vulnerability differentially predicts symptom dimensions of anxiety in adolescents in china. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 50, 69–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wildes, J. E., Ringham, R. M., & Marcus, M. D. (2010). Emotion avoidance in patients with anorexia nervosa: Initial test of a functional model. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 43, 398–404.Google Scholar
  41. Xiao, J., Yao, S., Zhu, X., Zhang, C., Auerbach, R. P., Mcwhinnie, C. M., et al. (2010). The responses to stress questionnaire: Construct validity and prediction of depressive and social anxiety symptoms in a sample of chinese adolescents. Stress & Health, 26(3), 238–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Xiao, J., Yu, Q., He, Y., Cui, L., Auerbach, R. P., Mcwhinnie, C. M., et al. (2016). ‘weakest link’ as a cognitive vulnerability within the hopelessness theory of depression in chinese university students. Stress & Health Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 32(1), 20–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang, J., & Norvilitis, J. M. (2002). Measuring Chinese psychological well-being with western developed instruments. Journal of Personality Assessment, 79, 492–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ziegert, D. I., & Kistner, J. A. (2002). Response styles theory: Downward extension to children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31(3), 325–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junyi Wang
    • 1
  • Xiaoyu Wang
    • 1
  • Chad M. McWhinnie
    • 2
  • Jing Xiao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition and Department of PsychologyCapital Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations