Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 827–838 | Cite as

Role of self-focus in the relationship between depressed mood and problem solving

Original Paper


We investigated the effects of adaptive and maladaptive forms of self-focus—specifically, self-reflection and self-rumination—on the relationship between depressed mood and everyday problem-solving behavior. Although previous research has consistently suggested that self-rumination disturbs problem solving and self-regulatory processes, thereby aggravating depressive symptoms, the association between self-reflection, problem solving, and its emotional consequences has not been demonstrated. Therefore, we assessed whether self-reflection can facilitate the emotion regulation function of problem solving through a daily diary method. Thirty-nine Japanese undergraduate and graduate students recorded daily depressed mood, the most stressful problem encountered each day, and whether they utilized problem-solving behaviors for seven consecutive days. Multilevel model analyses showed that individuals with higher levels of self-reflection reported lower depressed moods after enacting problem-solving behaviors, even if the problem that they had on that day was highly stressful. These results suggest that self-reflection enhances the mood regulation function of everyday problem-solving behavior, and may contribute to mental well-being and resilience to stress.


Self-reflection Self-rumination Problem solving 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Arts and SciencesThe University of TokyoMeguro-ku, TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Center for the Psychology of Learning and Experimental PsychopathologyUniversity of LeuvenLouvainBelgium

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