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Rumination in the laboratory: what happens when you go back to everyday life?


Rumination has been suggested to mediate the physiological consequences of stress on health. We studied the effects of rumination evoked in the laboratory and subsequent changes over 24 h. Heart rate (HR) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP) were monitored in 27 male and 33 female participants during baseline, reading, an anger recall interview, and recovery. Half of the sample was assigned to a distraction condition. The lab session was followed by a 24-hour ambulatory (A)HR and BP recording and self-reports of moods and rumination. Rumination was associated with higher SBP, DBP, and HR and increased negative mood compared to distraction. Rumination during the day was a strong predictor of AHR, ABP, and mood. BP reactivity in the laboratory and increases in ABP during rumination were related. The effects of negative cognition on health go far beyond the recovery periods usually measured in the laboratory, thus playing a pathogenic role.

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