Molly Julianna Campbell, Elizabeth A. Chevalier, Karoline Elizabeth Harshbarger


Presentation: 10:45-12:00, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Posttraumatic growth (PTG) refers to positive psychological changes resulting from cognitive struggle after stressful situations or traumatic events (Tedeschi et al., 2018). The theoretical framework of PTG says that traumatic or disruptive life events challenge a person’s core beliefs. As a result of this challenge, one can experience intrusive rumination, or automatic, uncontrollable thoughts about the event, which is sometimes associated with lower PTG (Cann et al., 2010) and sometimes uncorrelated (Bakaityte et al., 2022). Instead, if a person can manage their distress, and reassess their goals and beliefs, there is some evidence that this may be able to turn into deliberate rumination (Bakaityte et al., 2022), which consists of reflective, constructive thoughts about the event, and is linked with more growth (Tedeschi et al., 2018). Though the transition from intrusive to deliberate rumination may be crucial in fostering PTG, it is not well understood. Among the few studies that have looked at this association, some have found self-blame to mediate the intrusive - deliberate link (Bakaityte et al., 2022), while others have tested multiple cognitive mediators and not found significance (Rider Mundey et al., 2019). To better understand the mixed findings regarding the pathway from intrusive rumination to deliberate rumination to PTG, it is important to consider variables that moderate these links, such as emotion regulation, which is linked with both deliberate rumination and PTG (Zhou & Zhen, 2024). This study will use self-report data from undergraduate students who have experienced one or more traumatic events to test the relation between intrusive and deliberate rumination (assessed using the Event-Related Rumination Inventory), to test emotion regulation domains (assessed using the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale) as moderators of this link, and test these associations with PTG (assessed using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory). Moderation will be tested using the PROCESS macro for SPSS.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Lucy J. Allbaugh

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals


Can Ruminating About Trauma Foster Growth? Emotion Regulation's Role in the Link Between Intrusive and Deliberate Rumination