This study aimed to examine whether attachment orientations (anxiety and avoidance) were associated with perceived stress through self-critical rumination (a specific type of rumination focused on the content of self-critical thoughts). It also aimed to examine the factor structure of the Portuguese version of the Self-Critical Rumination Scale (SCRS) and to present additional evidence on its construct validity and reliability. A sample of 317 Portuguese women from the general community was recruited online. Participants completed the SCRS and measures of self-compassion, perceived stress, difficulties in emotion regulation, and adult attachment. The results of the mediation analyses showed that self-critical rumination mediated the association between attachment anxiety and perceived stress but not the association between attachment avoidance and perceived stress. In addition, the SCRS showed good psychometric properties. Specifically, the scale showed adequate reliability (Cronbach’s alpha was .933 and composite reliability was .932) and construct validity. Significant correlations were found between the SCRS and measures assessing constructs expected to be associated with self-critical rumination (self-compassion, perceived stress, difficulties in emotion regulation, and attachment anxiety and avoidance). Confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the one-factor structure of the Portuguese SCRS. This study identifies a new mechanism underlying the association between adult attachment and perceived stress. In addition, the results of the present study provide further evidence of the internal consistency and construct validity of the SCRS and indicate that the Portuguese version is a psychometrically robust and adequate measure of self-critical rumination.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aldao, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion-regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 217–237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2009.11.004.
Baldwin, M. W. (1992). Relational schemas and the processing of social information. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 461–484. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.112.3.461.
Berant, E., Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2008). Mothers' attachment style, their mental health, and their children's emotional vulnerabilities: A 7-year study of children with congenital heart disease. Journal of Personality, 76, 31–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2007.00479.x.
Beyderman, I., & Young, M. A. (2016). Rumination and overgeneral autobiographical memory as mediators of the relationship between attachment and depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 98, 37–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.03.077.
Blatt, S. J. (2004). Experiences of depression: Theoretical, research and clinical perspectives. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
Blatt, S. J., & Homann, E. (1992). Parent-child interaction in the etiology of dependent and self-critical depression. Clinical Psychology Review, 12, 47–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/0272-7358(92)90091-L.
Blatt, S. J., & Zuroff, D. C. (1992). Interpersonal relatedness and self-definition: Two prototypes for depression. Clinical Psychology Review, 12, 527–562. https://doi.org/10.1016/0272-7358(92)90070-O.
Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Burnette, J. L., Taylor, K. W., Worthington, E. L., & Forsyth, D. R. (2007). Attachment and trait forgivingness: The mediating role of angry rumination. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 1585–1596. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2006.10.033.
Byrne, B. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Cantazaro, A., & Wei, M. (2010). Adult attachment, dependence, self-criticism, and depressive symptoms: A test of a mediational model. Journal of Personality, 78, 1135–1162. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00645.x.
Castilho, P., Pinto-Gouveia, J., & Duarte, J. (2015). Evaluating the multifactor structure of the long and short versions of the self-compassion scale in a clinical sample. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 71, 856–870. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22187.
Clark, D., & Wells, A. (1995). A cognitive model of social phobia. In R. Heimberg (Ed.), Social phobia. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 386–396. https://doi.org/10.2307/2136404.
Conway, M., Csank, P. A. R., Holm, S. L., & Blake, C. K. (2000). On assessing individual differences in rumination on sadness. Journal of Personality Assessment, 75, 404–425. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327752JPA7503_04.
Costa, C. (2016). The association between attachment orientations and mindful parenting in mothers of children and adolescents: The mediating role of dificulties in emotion regulation and perceived stress. (Unpublished master's tesis), University of Coimbra.
Cribb, G., Moulds, M. L., & Carter, S. (2012). Rumination and experiential avoidance in depression. Behaviour Change, 23, 165–176. https://doi.org/10.1375/bech.23.3.165.
Denson, T. F. (2012). The multiple systems model of angry rumination. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17, 103–123. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868312467086.
Ehring, T., & Ehlers, A. (2014). Does rumination mediate the relationship between emotion regulation ability and posttraumatic stress disorder? European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v5.23547.
Fennig, S., Hadas, A., Itzhaky, L., Roe, D., Apter, A., & Shahar, G. (2008). Self-criticism is a key predictor of eating disorder dimensions among inpatient adolescent females. Internarional Journal of Eating Disorders, 41, 762–765. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.20573.
Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equations models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 39–50. https://doi.org/10.2307/3151312.
Fraley, R. C., & Shaver, P. R. (2000). Adult romantic attachment: Theoretical developments, emerging controversies, and unanswered questions. Review of General Psychology, 4, 132–154. https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-26188.8.131.52.
Fraley, R. C., Heffernan, M. E., Vicary, A. M., & Brumbaugh, C. C. (2011). The experiences in close relationships-relationship structures questionnaire: A method for assessing attachment orientations across relationships. Psychological Assessment, 23, 615–625. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022898.
Garrison, A. M., Kahn, J. H., Miller, S. A., & Sauer, E. M. (2014). Emotional avoidance and rumination as mediators of the relation between adult attachment and emotional disclosure. Personality and Individual Differences, 70, 239–245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.07.006.
Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion focused therapy. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge.
Gilbert, P., & Procter, S. (2006). Compassionate mind training for people with high shame and self-criticism: Overview and pilot study of a group therapy approach. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 13, 353–379. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.507.
Gilbert, P., Clarke, M., Hempel, S., Miles, J. N., & Irons, C. (2004). Criticizing and reassuring oneself: An exploration of forms, styles and reasons in female students. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 31–50. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466504772812959.
Gouveia, M. J., Carona, C., Canavarro, M. C., & Moreira, H. (2016). Self-compassion and dispositional mindfulness are associated with parenting styles and parenting stress: The mediating role of mindful parenting. Mindfulness, 7, 700–712. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0507-y.
Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2, 271–299. https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-26184.108.40.2061.
Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2013). Multivariate data analysis: Pearson new international edition. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
Harman, R., & Lee, D. (2010). The role of shame and self-critical thinking in the development and maintenance of current threat in post-traumatic stress disorder. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 17, 13–24. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.636.
Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118.
Hu, E., Koucky, E. M., Brown, W. J., Bruce, S. E., & Sheline, Y. I. (2014). The role of rumination in elevating perceived stress in posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29, 1953–1962. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260513511697.
Iancu, I., Bodner, E., & Ben-Zion, I. Z. (2015). Self esteem, dependency, self-efficacy and self-criticism in social anxiety disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 58, 165–171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2014.11.018.
Irons, C., Gilbert, P., Baldwin, M. W., Baccus, J. R., & Palmer, M. (2006). Parental recall, attachment relating and self-attacking/self-reassurance: Their relationship with depression. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 297–308. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466505X68230.
Kaufman, E. A., Xia, M., Fosco, G., Yaptangco, M., Skidmore, C. R., & Crowell, S. E. (2015). The difficulties in emotion regulation scale short form (DERS-SF): Validation and replication in adolescent and adult samples. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 38, 443–455. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-015-9529-3.
Kline, R. (2011). Principals and practice of structural equation modelling (3rd ed.). New York, NY: The Guildford Press.
Kolubinski, D. C., Nikčević, A. V., Lawrence, J. A., & Spada, M. M. (2016). The role of metacognition in self-critical rumination: An investigation in individuals presenting with low self-esteem. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 34, 73–85. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10942-015-0230-y.
Kolubinski, D. C., Nikčević, A. V., Lawrence, J. A., & Spada, M. M. (2017). The metacognitions about self-critical rumination questionnaire. Journal of Affective Disorders, 220, 129–138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.06.002.
Lanciano, T., Curci, A., Kafetsios, K., Elia, L., & Zammuner, V. L. (2012). Attachment and dysfunctional rumination: The mediating role of emotional intelligence abilities. Personality and Individual Differences, 53, 753–758. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.05.027.
López, A., Sanderman, R., Smink, A., Zhang, Y., van Sonderen, E., Ranchor, A., & Schroevers, M. J. (2015). A reconsideration of the self-compassion scale’s total score: Self-compassion versus self-criticism. PLoS One, 10, e0132940. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132940.
Marcus, D. K., Hughes, K. T., & Arnau, R. C. (2008). Health anxiety, rumination, and negative affect: A mediational analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 64, 495–501. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.02.004.
Mikulincer, M., & Florian, V. (1995). Appraisal of and coping with a real-life stressful situation: The contribution of attachment styles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 406–414. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167295214011.
Mikulincer, M., & Florian, V. (2001). Attachment style and affect regulation: Implications for coping with stress and mental health. In F. Garth & M. Clark (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Interpersonal processes. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Ltd..
Mikulincer, M., & Florian, V. (2002). Attachment style and affect regulation: Implications for coping with stress and mental health. In J. O. F. Garth & S. C. Margaret (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Interpersonal processes. New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2019). Attachment orientations and emotion regulation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 25, 6–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.02.006.
Montero-Marín, J., Gaete, J., Demarzo, M., Rodero, B., Lopez, L. C. S., & García-Campayo, J. (2016). Self-criticism: A measure of uncompassionate behaviors toward the self, based on the negative components of the self-compassion scale. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(1281). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01281.
Moreira, H., Martins, T. C., Gouveia, M. J., & Canavarro, M. C. (2015). Assessing adult attachment across different contexts: Validation of the Portuguese version of the experiences in close relationships–relationship structures questionnaire. Journal of Personality Assessment, 97, 22–30. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2014.950377.
Morrison, R., & O'Connor, R. C. (2005). Predicting psychological distress in college students: The role of rumination and stress. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61, 447–460. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20021.
Muris, P., Roelofs, J., Rassin, E., Franken, I., & Mayer, B. (2005). Mediating effects of rumination and worry on the links between neuroticism, anxiety and depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 1105–1111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2005.04.005.
Neff, K. D. (2003). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85–101. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309032.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1991). Responses to depression and their effects on the duration of depressive episodes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 569–582. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.100.4.569.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2000). The role of rumination in depressive disorders and mixed anxiety/depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 504–511. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.109.3.504.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wisco, B. E., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). Rethinking rumination. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 400–424. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00088.x.
Pietromonaco, P. R., DeBuse, C. J., & Powers, S. I. (2013). Does attachment get under the skin? Adult romantic attachment and cortisol responses to stress. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 63–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721412463229.
Rachman, S., Grüter-Andrew, J., & Shafran, R. (2000). Post-event processing in social anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 611–617. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(99)00089-3.
Raes, F., Pommier, E., Neff, K., & Van Gucht, D. (2011). Construction and factorial validation of a short form of the self-compassion scale. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 18, 250–255. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.702.
Rector, N. A., Antony, M. M., Laposa, J. M., Kocovski, N. L., & Swinson, R. P. (2008). Assessing content domains of repetitive thought in the anxiety spectrum: Rumination and worry in nonclinical and clinically anxious samples. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 1, 352–377. https://doi.org/10.1521/ijct.2008.1.4.352.
Saffrey, C., & Ehrenberg, M. (2007). When thinking hurts: Attachment, rumination, and postrelationship adjustment. Personal Relationships, 14, 351–368. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00160.x.
Schmidt, S., Nachtigall, C., Wuethrich-Martone, O., & Strauss, B. (2002). Attachment and coping with chronic disease. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 53, 763–773.
Smart, L. M., Peters, J. R., & Baer, R. A. (2016). Development and validation of a measure of self-critical rumination. Assessment, 23, 321–332. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191115573300.
Smith, J. M., & Alloy, L. B. (2009). A roadmap to rumination: A review of the definition, assessment, and conceptualization of this multifaceted construct. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 116–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2008.10.003.
Starr, L. R., & Davila, J. (2012). Responding to anxiety with rumination and hopelessness: Mechanism of anxiety-depression symptom co-occurrence? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36, 321–337. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-011-9363-1.
Thomas, J., Raynor, M., & Ribott, D. (2015). Depressive rumination and experiential avoidance: A task based exploration. Personality and Mental Health, 9, 58–65. https://doi.org/10.1002/pmh.1276.
Thompson, R., & Zuroff, D. C. (1999). Development of self-criticism in adolescent girls: Roles of maternal dissatisfaction, maternal coldness, and insecure attachment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28, 197–210. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1021601431296.
Trigo, M., Canudo, N., Branco, F., & Silva, D. (2010). Estudo das propriedades psicométricas da perceived stress scale (PSS) na população Portuguesa. [study of the psychometric properties of the perceived stress scale in the Portuguese population]. Psychologica, 53, 353–378.
Wade, N. G., Vogel, D. L., Liao, K., & Goldman, D. B. (2008). Measuring state-specific rumination: Development of the rumination about an interpersonal offense scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 55, 419–426. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0220.127.116.119.
Willis, K. D., & Burnett, H. (2016). The power of stress: Perceived stress and its relationship with rumination, self-concept clarity, and resilience. North American Journal of Psychology, 18, 483–498.
Zuroff, D. C., & Fitzpatrick, D. K. (1995). Depressive personality styles: Implications for adult attachment. Personality and Individual Differences, 18, 253–265. https://doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(94)00136-G.
This work was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Grant SFRH/BPD/70063/2010).
Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
Author Helena Moreira declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Berta Maia declares that she has no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Moreira, H., Maia, B.R. Self-critical rumination as a mediator between attachment orientations and perceived stress: Evidence from a cross-cultural validation of the self-critical rumination scale. Curr Psychol 40, 1071–1082 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-0025-2
- Self-critical rumination
- Perceived stress
- Portuguese version
- Psychometric properties