Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

December 2001


Published in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2001, Vol. 69, No. 5, 836-840. Copyright 2001 by the American Psychological Association. Used by permission.


Ruminative coping has been shown to heighten the risk and severity of depression. The authors hypothesized that ruminators who smoke would experience greater depressive symptoms than ruminators who do not. The rationale is that, by heightening attentional focus, nicotine may increase ruminators' ability to focus on negative thoughts, augmenting depressed mood. Participants (N = 145) self-reported smoking status, rumination, and current and lifetime depressive symptoms, including depressed mood. Results showed that rumination accounted for a larger amount of variance in current and past depressed mood and severity of lifetime depressive symptoms among smokers than nonsmokers. Noncorrelational, experimental research should directly test whether nicotine worsens depressed mood among ruminative smokers. Such evidence would be surprising because it would contradict the assumption that nicotine dispels negative moods.