Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 180–192 | Cite as

When does the Gender Difference in Rumination Begin? Gender and Age Differences in the Use of Rumination by Adolescents

  • Paul E. Jose
  • Isobel Brown
Original Paper


A cross-sectional non-clinical sample of 1,218 adolescents, aged 10–17 years, completed measures of stress, rumination, and depression to allow tests of the response style theory of S. Nolen-Hoeksema [J Res Adolesc 4:519–534, 1994] in adolescents, in particular whether increasing levels of stress and rumination in early adolescence are predictive of the onset of the gender difference in depression. Overall, females reported higher levels of stress, rumination, and depression than males. The onset of the gender differences in stress and depression occurred at age 13 years, and for rumination one year earlier at 12 years. Significantly, also from 13 years, rumination explained the gender difference in depression by showing that it significantly mediated the effect of gender on depression. Gender moderated the rumination to depression relationship; specifically the association was stronger for females than males. Developmental differences were noted in that rumination significantly mediated between stress and depression earlier in the age range for females than males. Results supported many of the predictions of Nolen-Hoeksema’s model of the emergence of a gender difference in adolescent depression.


Adolescence Rumination Depression Gender differences Stress 



Thanks are expressed to the schools, principals, and students who participated in this study; the research assistants: Katherine Schurer, Verity Ratcliffe, and Trudy Lefebre; and to Kirsty Weir for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Ministry of Social DevelopmentGovernment of New ZealandWellingtonNew Zealand

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