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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Depressive Rumination: Nature, Theory and Treatment edited by Costas Papageorgiou, Adrian Wells (John Wiley & Sons) Depression is the most common psychological disorder incurring significant personal, social, and economic costs. Cognitive approaches have been highly influential in the conceptualization and treatment of depression. Several cognitive processes have been implicated in the development, maintenance, and recurrence/relapse of depression. In the past 15 years, persistent, recyclic, negative thinking, in the form of rumination, has attracted increasing theoretical and empirical attention as an important factor.

This book brings together leading theorists, researchers, and clinicians working in the field of rumination and depression. The aim of the book is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the nature, effects, measurement, and treatment of rumination. This volume is divided into three parts.
In Part I, five chapters describe the nature and consequences of rumination. In Chapter 1, Papageorgiou and Wells examine concepts of rumination and compare this construct with other related cognitive processes, such as worry. The chapter discusses possible functions of rumination and the relationships between rumination, depression, and metacognitive beliefs. Lyubomirsky and Tkach (Chapter 2) describe in detail a ruminative style of responding to de-pressed mood and review experimental and correlational research documenting its many adverse consequences. In Chapter 3, Spasojevic, Alloy, Abramson, MacCoon, and Robinson describe their research focusing on reactive rumination, which they view as a response to negative mood, negative life events, or both. Wenzlaff (Chapter 4) examines rumination in the context of mental control in which cognitive biases and thought suppression can intensify negative thinking. The deleterious impact of depressed mood on mental control is also considered as contributing to rumination. In Chapter 5, Siegle and Thayer review the physiological correlates of depressive rumination as a way of measuring and understanding its nature and underlying mechanisms. An important advantage of physiological assessments is that they may provide a more objective index of rumination.

In Part II, three leading theories of rumination are described. Nolen-Hoeksema (Chapter 6) presents her response styles theory, in which rumination is a process whereby individuals focus on the causes and consequences of depression. This, in turn, is thought to contribute to the perpetuation and exacerbation of depressive symptoms. In Chapter 7, Matthews and Wells present their information processing model of emotional disorders to account for the causes and consequences of depressive rumination. In this multilevel model, rumination is seen as a maladaptive coping strategy closely linked to individuals' metacognitive beliefs. Martin, Shrira, and Startup (Chapter 8) review the goal progress theory of rumination and consider rumination as a function of goal progress, stop rules, and cerebral lateralization. Part II of the book concludes with a comparison and appraisal of these theories of rumination. Here Brotman and DeRubeis (Chapter 9) analyse the similarities and differences between theories and suggest areas of synthesis.

In Part III, the measurement and treatment of rumination is considered. Luminet (Chapter 10) describes specific self-report measures of rumination and related constructs and discusses their psychometric properties. In Chapter 11, Purdon presents a comprehensive review of existing psychological treatments for rumination across disorders. This chapter considers the applicability of these treatments to rumination in depression. McMillan and Fisher (Chapter 12) provide a description of common techniques used to treat depressive thinking in the course of cognitive therapy. These techniques draw on traditional strategies aimed at modifying the content of negative thoughts and beliefs in depression. In the final chapter, Wells and Papageorgiou (Chapter 13) present a new treatment approach that is specifically targeted at the depressive ruminative style of thinking. The chapter describes an array of metacognitive treatment strategies derived from an information processing model.

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