According to Butler and Nolen-Hoeksema, rumination as a form of coping with depression represent “a type of self-focused attention, an an emotion-focused attention” (Butler and Nolen-Hoeksema, 1994, p. 332). In their study, Butler and Nolen-Hoeksema (1994) found that women unlike men report that when depressed they focus on themselves and their emotions, and avoid activity. Researchers indicated that male subjects overall did not show distracting response style and throughout the study males revealed “their lower likelihood of emotion-focusing or ruminating, compared to women” (Butler and Nolen-Hoeksema, 1994, p. 341).
Almeida and Kessler (1998) explained that rumination theory, based on cognitive-behavioral thinking, states that gender differences in depression and stresses occur due to differences in how men and women respond to being in a dysphoric state. As Almeida and Kessler (1998) suggest, by being likely to ruminate on their negative emotions, women tend to prolong them (p. 670). In their study Almeida and Kessler (1998) found that among husbands and wives, female sample experienced more distress episodes than men and women were generally likely to remain in stress during more days.
Nolen-Hoeksema and her colleagues (1999) found that rumination accompanied with chronic strain and low mastery was more prevalent in women than in men. In addition, rumination revealed the gender differences in depressive symptoms (Nolen-Hoeksema et al, 1999). According to suggestions made by researchers (Nolen-Hoeksema et al, 1999), women’s tendency to ruminate may be explained through their desire to control environment and distress. However, their failure to impose this control lead to situation when women remain stuck in rumination. In another study examining bereaved adults, Neol-Hoeksema et al (1994) indicated that individuals who in grieving cope with negative emotions with rumination experience significant difficulties adjusting their loss, placing themselves at risk for long-term emotional difficulties. In a study aiming to find and explain gender differences on the experience of depression, Thayer et al (2003) indicated that women reported greater feelings of sadness, unattractiveness, guilt, blame and tiredness compared to men.
Simultaneously, women reported more problems with decision-making, task accomplishment and more weight associated problems than men. Noel-Hoeksema and Jackson (2001) examined beliefs about control of emotions, responsibility for the emotional tone of relationships, and mastery over negative events of both male and female samples, and concluded that these variables revealed the gender difference in rumination.
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