Rumination following bereavement: An overview

Maarten C. Eisma*, Margaret S. Stroebe

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

27 Citaten (Scopus)
849 Downloads (Pure)


This contribution provides an overview of rumination (i.e., thinking repetitively and recurrently about negative events and/or negative emotions) in adjustment to bereavement. First, we summarise a growing literature on rumination and mental health outcomes of bereavement. Next, we compare two main theories explaining the maladaptive effects of rumination after loss, which hold conflicting implications for clinical practice. The Response Styles Theory (RST) states that rumination is a maladaptive confrontation strategy that perpetuates distress by increasing negative cognitions, impairing problem solving and instrumental behaviour and reducing social support. Conversely, the Rumination as Avoidance Hypothesis (RAH) holds that rumination may serve to avoid painful aspects of the loss, thereby hampering adjustment to bereavement. Crucially, while RST predicts that distraction reduces rumination, RAH predicts that loss exposure is more effective. We review evidence for RST and RAH and their clinical implications and conclude with a brief exploration of ways to reconcile these theories.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)58-64
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftBereavement Care
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
StatusPublished - 2017

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