Honors College

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Honors Thesis

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Recent evidence has suggested that multiple disorders may share transdiagnostic factors. Transdiagnostic means a factor that may account for the comorbidity of symptoms between certain psychopathologies. Recently, researchers have posited that rumination, the tendency to dwell on thoughts and feelings, may be a transdiagnostic factor in several psychological disorders. It is also possible that rumination may exacerbate other psychological constructs or physical concerns (e.g., experiential avoidance, health anxiety, premenstrual distress). Previous research found that rumination partially mediated the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and premenstrual distress. In addition to the research on correlates of premenstrual distress, recently researchers have begun to look at gender-specific stressors that may predispose women to report more psychological and physical distress. Given that women engage in rumination in response to distress more than men, it is important to examine this construct in relation to other constructs (e.g., health anxiety). The purpose of the present study was to extend the research on the relationships between rumination and premenstrual distress to include health anxiety, experiential avoidance, and anxiety sensitivity.

Undergraduate females (N = 715) completed measures of rumination (RSQ), premenstrual distress (MDQ), anxiety sensitivity (ASI), and experiential avoidance (AAQ). The average age was 19.47 (SD = 3.59) and the majority were Caucasian (92.9%). A stepwise multiple regression with premenstrual distress as the dependent variable and the other variables entered as predictors revealed that rumination and health anxiety significantly predicted 20% of the variance in premenstrual distress. Given the earlier research that found that rumination mediated the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and premenstrual distress, we conducted a multiple mediation analysis. Results indicated that rumination partially mediated the relationship between health anxiety and premenstrual distress. This study provides more support for the mediating influence of rumination and also identifies another gender-specific stressor that may impact women’s mental and physical health.

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