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Title: The reliability and validity of a new tripartite measure of work related rumination and the impact of work-related rumination on physical and behavioural health
Author: Michalianou, Georgia D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 3954
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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The term rumination is commonly used to describe negative phenomenological experiences and is related to a number of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, social phobia, anger, worry and the persistence of negative mood and thinking. Research also indicates an association between rumination and the development and/or sustenance of cognitive and emotional problems (Ehring, Frank, & Ehkers, 2008; Segertom, Tsao, Alden, & Craske, 2003; Watkins et al., 2007). Over recent years there has been an increasing focus on rumination and other pressures and strains that may exist on a more daily basis. This is the focus on the present thesis which addresses links between rumination, work stress, recovery and well being. Previous research has also tended to conceptualise rumination as a univariate construct whereas the present thesis takes a more complex approach and conceptualises rumination within a tripartite model. The primary aim of this thesis was to develop and evaluate a new measure of rumination within the tripartite perspective and to assess links with health indices such as physical symptoms, blood pressure, sleep and eating behaviour in the context of how people unwind in their leisure time. The thesis consists of four empirical studies. Study 1 was designed to develop and assess the psychometric properties of a new measure of rumination which operationalised three different types of work related rumination labelled: affective rumination, problem solving and detachment. This was then evaluated on a large sample of workers using factor analysis, reliability analysis and cluster analysis. Further this study examined the relationship between the three types of rumination and psychosomatic symptoms. The second study involved a confirmatory factor analysis of this scale and in addition investigated whether these three components of rumination were associated with differences in cardiovascular activity and leisure activities using a longitudinal diary based methodology. Study 3 further explored this approach to rumination with a focus on sleep problems and differences in participants' leisure activities by ruminator type. Study 4 explored the association between work rumination and eating behaviour. The results showed that the new measurement tool consisted of three robust factors with good reliability. This was confirmed throughout the thesis. Results also indicated differences between the different types of ruminators. In particular, affective ruminators scored higher on physical symptoms and had highest intake of unhealthy foods in contrast to the detachers and problem solvers. In contrast problem solver ruminators reported consuming more unhealthy foods and scored higher on physical symptoms than detachers. Results also showed that workers who ruminate about work-related issues failed to reduce their diastolic blood pressure in the evening, in contrast to the rest of the workers. The results showed no differences between the three groups in terms of their sleep patterns and cardiovascular activity. There were also no differences between the three ruminator types and pattern leisure time activities with all engaging in low effort activities in the evening. These results support the theory that inadequate recovery, or poor disengagement from work leads to physical-illness symptoms and health problems and indicate that rather than it just being rumination per se which may be detrimental to health, it is the type of rumination that is predictive. Future work could use this tripartite operationalisation of rumination to examine other behavioural and physiological factors that influence the process of recovery from work and their impact on additional health indices to further our understanding of the unwinding process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available