Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

T. Scott Perkins

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Cherisse Y. Flanagan

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

John H. Casada


Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States and is a leading cause of disability worldwide, contributing to the substantial global economic burden. Research identifying effective and cost-efficient intervention programs has been generally successful, yet the heterogeneity of depressive symptoms and their co-occurrence with other conditions complicate these efforts. This, “specificity” question, here understood as the ongoing search for distinct clinical symptoms associated primarily with depression rather than anxiety and other disorders has remained a more elusive challenge. Depression and anxiety frequently co-occur, and research has been designed to identify symptoms and syndromes specific to each condition. Rumination and worry are types of negative thoughts proposed to differentiate between depression and anxiety, and are the focus of this investigation. Participants were undergraduate students who completed the Beck Depression Inventory-2, the daily routine portion of the Self-Report of General Trait Anxiousness, the Ruminative Responses Scale, and the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Analyses examined the relations among depression, anxiety, rumination, and worry. Additional procedures considered potential influences of subject gender and levels of perceived social support, the latter being assessed by the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. We hypothesized that rumination would correlate more highly with depression than anxiety, with worry significantly more positively related with anxiety. It was also proposed that a temporal orientation would assist in distinguishing these relationships. Results supported the hypothesis that rumination related more highly with depression; however, worry was not seen to relate more highly to anxiety than depression. Results also offered partial support for the second hypothesis in that visibly larger correlations between two future-oriented worry items and anxiety were evident, however, only one of two correlations between past-oriented rumination items and depressive symptom severity was greater than the correlation between past-oriented rumination items and anxiety. Additional analyses using ANOVAs allowed for a comparison of gender differences in the areas of depression, anxiety, rumination, and worry, as well as comparisons of reported social support levels were largely inconclusive. Limitations, directions for future research, and implications for clinical practice and assessment are described.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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