Functional connectivity of reflective and brooding rumination in depressed and healthy women

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2018 Oct;18(5):884-901. doi: 10.3758/s13415-018-0611-7.


Ruminative thinking is related to an increased risk for major depressive disorder (MDD) and perpetuates negative mood states. Rumination, uncontrollable negative thoughts about the self, may comprise both reflective and brooding components. However, only brooding rumination is consistently associated with increased negativity bias and negative coping styles, while reflective rumination has a less clear relationship with negative outcomes in healthy and depressed participants. The current study examined seed-to-voxel (S2.V) resting-state functional connectivity (FC) in a sample of healthy (HC) and depressed (MDD) adult women (HC: n=50, MDD: n=33). The S2V FC of six key brain regions, including the left and right amygdala, anterior and posterior cingulate cortex (ACC, PCC), and medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (mPFC, dlPFC), was correlated with self-reported reflective and brooding rumination. Results indicate that HC and MDD participants had increased brooding rumination associated with decreased FC between the left amygdala and the right temporal pole. Moreover, reflective rumination was associated with distinct FC of the mPFC, PCC, and ACC with parietal, occipital, and cingulate regions. Depressed participants, compared with HC, exhibited decreased FC between the PCC and a region in the right middle frontal gyrus. The results of the current study add to the understanding of the neural underpinnings of different forms of self-related cognition-brooding and reflective rumination-in healthy and depressed women.

Keywords: Brooding; Depression; Functional connectivity; Reflective; Rumination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnostic imaging*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Rest
  • Rumination, Cognitive / physiology*
  • Young Adult