The present study sought to test predictions of the response styles theory in a sample of children and adolescents. More specifically, a ratio approach to response styles was utilized to examine the effects on residual change scores in depression and anxiety. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires including measures of rumination, distraction, depression, and anxiety at baseline (Time 1) and 8-10 weeks follow-up (Time 2). Results showed that the ratio score of rumination and distraction was significantly associated with depressed and anxious symptoms over time. More specifically, individuals who have a greater tendency to ruminate compared to distracting themselves have increases in depression and anxiety scores over time, whereas those who have a greater tendency to engage in distraction compared to rumination have decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms over time. These findings indicate that a ratio approach can be used to examine the relation between response styles and symptoms of depression and anxiety in non-clinical children and adolescents. Implications of the results may be that engaging in distractive activities should be promoted and that ruminative thinking should be targeted in juvenile depression treatment.
Roelofs, J., Rood, L., Meesters, C. M. G., te Dorsthorst, V., Bögels, S. M., Alloy, L. B., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2009). The influence of rumination and distraction on depressed and anxious mood: a prospective examination of the response styles theory in children and adolescents. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 18, 635-642. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-009-0026-7