Verbal rumination in close relationships

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This article introduces the concept of verbal rumination. The current study investigated the possibility that ruminative thought translates to an interpersonal verbal behavior characterized by repetitive communication that is potentially aversive to both an individual and his or her partner. An initial measure of verbal rumination (VR) was developed and the adequacy of the resultant scale was evaluated. Analyses revealed four distinct types of verbal rumination behavior. These were labeled as positivity, redundant rehashing, prospective pessimism, and fretting. In brief, positivity refers to communication about happy, positive events that have happened in the past or are anticipated to occur in the future. Redundant rehashing encompasses communication regarding episodes or events that are not of current concern – it exhibits a focus on events or situations that are over and done with and superfluous to current interaction. Prospective pessimism involves communication about potentially negative future occurrences. Finally, fretting entails the communication of worry and regret in a context divorced from the subject or object of focus. Overall, the results suggest verbal rumination likely warrants further investigation and may provide a useful approach for furthering our understanding of interpersonal communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-68
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Journal of New Zealand
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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