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Title: Values-based self-affirmation as an intervention for reducing nonclinical rumination
Author: Carpenter, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 6238
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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Rumination refers to repetitive patterns of negative thinking, which is a maintaining factor for numerous mental health difficulties and occurs nonclinically. According to control theory (Martin & Tesser, 1996), rumination is triggered by a blocked goal and can be reduced by decreasing the resultant actual-ideal selfdiscrepancy. Steele's (1988) well-validated self-affirmation theory proposes that the act of affirming a core value, known as value-affirmation, helps to buffer against psychological threats by maintaining a positive self-view. Furthermore, clinical applications of values and goals (e.g., Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) suggest that it is not simply the act of reflecting on a core value, but also the setting and attaining of value-driven goals, that has positive effects on well-being. This study tested whether value-affirmation, particularly with a goal-setting component, would reduce rumination immediately post-intervention and after two weeks. The study hypotheses were: following the intervention, value-affirmation (VA) and valueaffirmation plus goal-setting (VA+GS) groups would report lower state rumination than a standardised non-affirmation control group (NAC); at two-week follow-up, VA+GS would report the lowest level of rumination, followed by VA, then NAC; and this would not be mediated by positive mood. A randomised-controlled mixed design was utilised, with self-reported state rumination and positive affect measured over three time points (pre- and post-intervention and two-week follow-up) within a nonclinical sample. Findings did not support these hypotheses: there were no significant main or interaction effects of state rumination over time. Exploratory analysis revealed there was a significant difference in rumination levels between goal-completers and noncompleters within the VA+GS group at follow-up, and VA and VA+GS conditions resulted in immediately improved positive affect. There are numerous possible reasons for the null main findings, including the conceptualisation of rumination, or the possible roles of positive affect, behaviour change or selfesteem. Alternatively, the study may have been insufficiently powered to find an effect because there appeared to be a trend towards some of the expected results. It was concluded that whilst this study did not find the expected results, valueaffirmation may under certain circumstances be an effective intervention for rumination and thus warrants further investigation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: rumination ; self-affirmation ; values ; goals ; nonclinical