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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 267327, 10 pages
Research Article

Rumination and Age: Some Things Get Better

1Research Unit INSIDE, University of Luxembourg, Campus Walferdange, Route de Diekirch, 7220 Walferdange, Luxembourg
2Research Group on Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
3Department of Research Methodology, Measurement and Data Analysis, Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands
4Department of Psychology I, University of Würzburg, Marcusstraße 9-11, 97070 Würzburg, Germany

Received 5 September 2011; Revised 28 November 2011; Accepted 13 December 2011

Academic Editor: Thomas M. Hess

Copyright © 2012 Stefan Sütterlin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rumination has been defined as a mode of responding to distress that involves passively focusing one's attention on symptoms of distress without taking action. This dysfunctional response style intensifies depressed mood, impairs interpersonal problem solving, and leads to more pessimistic future perspectives and less social support. As most of these results were obtained from younger people, it remains unclear how age affects ruminative thinking. Three hundred members of the general public ranging in age from 15 to 87 years were asked about their ruminative styles using the Response Styles Questionnaire (RSQ), depression and satisfaction with life. A Mokken Scale analysis confirmed the two-factor structure of the RSQ with brooding and reflective pondering as subcomponents of rumination. Older participants (63 years and older) reported less ruminative thinking than other age groups. Life satisfaction was associated with brooding and highest for the earlier and latest life stages investigated in this study.