Rumination, psychological distress and post-traumatic growth in women diagnosed with breast cancer

H. Soo*, K. A. Sherman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Rumination, the repetitive and recursive rehearsal of cognitive content, has been linked to depression and anxiety in physically well populations, and to post-traumatic growth (PTG) in physical illness populations. Women diagnosed with breast cancer may experience both psychological distress and PTG. As rumination may influence outcomes through distinct pathways, this study investigated the association of intrusion, brooding and instrumental subcomponents of rumination with psychological distress and PTG in the breast cancer context. Methods: Women diagnosed with primary breast cancer (n = 185), mean age 55.98 years (SD = 9.26), completed an online survey including the Multi-dimensional Rumination in Illness Scale, Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales, Post-traumatic Growth Inventory,Medical Outcomes Social Support Survey, demographic and health-related questions. Results: As predicted, regression analyses indicated that brooding was positively related to depression, anxiety and stress, but was also negatively related to the PTG dimensions of new possibilities and spiritual growth. Partially supporting the study hypotheses, intrusion was positively associated with stress and the PTG of relating to others and new possibilities. As hypothesised, instrumental rumination was positively associated with all five dimensions of PTG. Conclusions: Rumination is a key consideration in both positive and negative psychological responses of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Associations of specific components of rumination with varying psychological outcomes suggest differential paths by which the specific subcomponents of rumination exert this influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • cancer
  • oncology
  • rumination
  • depression
  • post-traumatic growth


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