Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 606–616 | Cite as

Stress-Related Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation: The Roles of Rumination and Depressive Symptoms Vary by Gender

  • Lillian Polanco-Roman
  • Judelysse Gomez
  • Regina Miranda
  • Elizabeth Jeglic
Original Article


There is a growing body of literature suggesting that reactions to stressful life events, such as intrusive thoughts, physiological hyperarousal, and cognitive/behavioral avoidance (i.e., stress-related symptoms) may increase risk for thinking about and attempting suicide. Cognitive vulnerability models have identified rumination (i.e., perseverating on a negative mood) as a maladaptive response that may increase risk for suicidal behavior, as it has also been linked to depression. The present study examined the direct and indirect effects of stress-related symptoms on suicidal ideation through rumination and depressive symptoms. Participants were 1375 young adults, primarily non-White (78 %) females (72 %), recruited from a public university in the Northeastern U.S., who completed measures of stress-related symptoms (as a response to a stressful event), rumination, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation. The relation between stress-related symptoms and suicidal ideation was accounted for by the brooding subtype of rumination and depressive symptoms among females. Depressive symptoms, but not rumination, better accounted for suicidal ideation among males. These findings suggest that the role of brooding and depressive symptoms in the relationship between stress-related symptoms and suicidal ideation may vary by gender.


Suicidal ideation Stress-related symptoms Rumination Depression Gender 



This study was funded, in part, by National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences (Grant Number GM056833).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Lillian Polanco-Roman, Judelysse Gomez, Regina Miranda and Elizabeth Jeglic declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

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 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual subjects participating in the study.

Animal Rights

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lillian Polanco-Roman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Judelysse Gomez
    • 3
  • Regina Miranda
    • 1
    • 4
  • Elizabeth Jeglic
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Graduate Center, CUNYNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCity College of New York, CUNYNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyHunter College, CUNYNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center, CUNYNew YorkUSA

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