Rumination and anxiety sensitivity in preadolescent girls: Independent, combined, and specific associations with depressive and anxiety symptoms

Catherine C. Epkins, Christie Gardner, Natalie Scanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Rumination and anxiety sensitivity are posited cognitive vulnerabilities in the development and/or maintenance of depression and anxiety and they have been examined separately in youth, and primarily in adolescents. Depression and anxiety are also highly comorbid. In 125 preadolescent girls (aged 9 to 12), we examined the independent, combined, and specific relations of rumination and anxiety sensitivity to girls' depression and anxiety, both before and after controlling for comorbid symptoms. Results found both rumination and anxiety sensitivity were independently related to depressive symptoms; and, both rumination and anxiety sensitivity were independently related to anxiety symptoms. After controlling for anxiety, rumination, and not anxiety sensitivity, showed a unique and specific relation to depression. In contrast, after controlling for depression, anxiety sensitivity, and not rumination, showed a unique and specific relation to anxiety. Rumination and anxiety sensitivity did not interact in relation to girls' depression or anxiety. These findings suggest: 1) there are distinctions between rumination and anxiety sensitivity; 2) rumination and anxiety sensitivity are overlapping yet independent vulnerabilities or correlates for both depression and anxiety; and 3) when comorbid symptoms are considered, rumination is uniquely and specifically related to depression and not anxiety, and anxiety sensitivity is uniquely and specifically related to anxiety and not depression. Our results add to recent advances in integrative cognitive vulnerability models, which highlight the importance of examining multiple cognitive vulnerabilities and examining the specificity of each to depression and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-551
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013



  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Children's anxiety
  • Children's depression
  • Cognitive vulnerability
  • Rumination

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