ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 3, 259-271, 2014
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Evaluating the Effect of Meta-Cognitive Beliefs about Angry Rumination on Anger with Cognitive Bias Modification

  Julie Krans - University of Leuven, Clinical Psychology, Leuven, Belgium
  Michelle Moulds - The University of New South Wales, School of Psychology, Sydney, Australia
  Jessica Grisham - The University of New South Wales, School of Psychology, Sydney, Australia
  Tamara Lang - The University of New South Wales, School of Psychology, Sydney, Australia
  Thomas Denson - The University of New South Wales, School of Psychology, Sydney, Australia

Volume 5, Issue 3, 2014, Pages 259-271

Since the publication of Susan Nolen-Hoeksema's (1991) seminal Response Style Theory of depressive rumination, a wealth of research has demonstrated that rumination plays an important role in the onset and maintenance of depression. More recently, rumination has been examined within the context of anger, and findings have suggested that ruminating about anger-inducing events heightens or maintains anger and increases aggression. Given these unhelpful effects, why do people ruminate in response to anger? The current experiment examined the potential role of positive beliefs about rumination in maintaining this process. We tested the hypothesis that positive beliefs about ruminating in response to anger-provoking events would lead to increased levels of anger and aggression. Participants engaged in cognitive bias modification (CBM) training intended to induce positive or negative beliefs about rumination. Next, they were presented with anger-provoking scenarios and asked to rate their predicted levels of anger and aggression in response to these scenarios. After CBM training, all participants showed a positive belief bias towards rumination; however, this bias was more pronounced in the positive beliefs condition. Unexpectedly, participants in the positive beliefs condition predicted that they would have lower levels of anger than participants in the negative beliefs condition, although this difference was reduced to a trend when implicit preference for emotional expression was controlled. The unexpected findings suggest novel testable hypotheses, for which concrete suggestions are provided.

Table of Contents
  Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS).
  Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ).
  Emotion Regulation Implicit Association Test (ER-IAT).
  Cognitive bias modification (CBM).
  Training phase.
  Test of induced bias.
  Aggressive Provocation Questionnaire (APQ).
 Statistical Approach
 Randomisation Checks
 CBM Manipulation Check
 Experimental Effects of CBM Training on Anger
  CBM effects controlling for anxiety and ER-IAT scores.

Correspondence to
Michelle L. Moulds, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia

anger, rumination, cbm

Received 6 Sep 2013; Revised 13 Feb 2014; Accepted 2 Mar 2014; In Press 21 Nov 2014

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