If I only knew why: the relationship between brooding, beliefs about rumination, and perceptions of treatments

Behav Ther. 2014 Jul;45(4):553-63. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2014.03.004. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


People who tend to engage in brooding, the maladaptive subtype of rumination, are at risk to develop depression. Brooders often endorse metacognitive beliefs that self-focused ruminative thinking is beneficial. In the current study, we examined whether brooding and positive beliefs about rumination are associated with perceptions of and preferences for treatments for depression. Participants (N=118) read descriptions of two different clusters of treatments for depression, Insight-Oriented (IO) treatments and Activation-Oriented (AO) treatments. They then rated treatment efficacy and credibility and completed self-report measures of rumination (including brooding and reflection subscales), beliefs about rumination, and depression. Brooding and metacognitive positive beliefs about rumination were associated with positive perceptions of IO (but not AO) treatments. Positive beliefs about rumination contributed to the prediction of perceptions of IO treatments (but not AO treatments) beyond the effect of brooding. We discuss the implications of these findings for individuals' decision-making processes regarding which type of treatment to seek.

Keywords: brooding; metacognitive beliefs; rumination; treatment credibility; treatment preference.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Culture*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception*
  • Self Report
  • Thinking*
  • Young Adult