Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher R. Berghoff

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas A. Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Sara E. Lowmaster


depression, college students, rumination, anxiety sensitivity, cognitive fusion, mediation

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Psychology


Rumination (i.e., intrusive and repetitive self-directed thinking) predicts the onset, severity, and maintenance of depression (Galecki & Talarowska, 2017). Ruminative behavior is positively associated with cognitive anxiety sensitivity (i.e., fear of losing internal control; CAS), which may be attributed to cognitive vulnerabilities of depression. However, researchers have not clarified the link between these variables, and mechanisms responsible for change in CAS following treatment are unclear (Tull & Gratz, 2008). Accordingly, clarification of intermediate factors that may be targeted in psychosocial interventions appears warranted. Cognitive fusion (i.e., engaging with thoughts as true reflections of reality rather than products of thinking; CF) may influence this relation, as individuals with high CAS may be attached to and impacted by negative thoughts, leading to ruminative behavior. We hypothesized CF would mediate the CAS-rumination relation in undergraduate students. Bootstrap analyses suggested CF significantly mediated the CAS-rumination relation, ab = 1.12, 95% CI [0.88, 1.40], indicating CF may partially account for the association of CAS and ruminative behavior. Accordingly, CF may be a productive target to reduce rumination (Bramwell & Richardson, 2018), especially for individuals with high CAS.



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