Perseverative cognitions such as rumination and worry are key components of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Given the frequent comorbidity of conditions in which rumination and worry are present, it is possible that they are underpinned by the same cognitive process. Furthermore, rumination and worry appear to be part of a causal chain that can lead to long-term health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. It is important therefore to understand what interventions may be useful in reducing their incidence. This systematic review aimed to assess treatments used to reduce worry and/or rumination. As we were interested in understanding the current treatment landscape, we limited our search from 2002 to 2012. Nineteen studies were included in the review and were assessed for methodological quality and treatment integrity. Results suggested that mindfulness-based and cognitive behavioural interventions may be effective in the reduction of both rumination and worry; with both Internet-delivered and face-to-face delivered formats useful. More broadly, it appears that treatments in which participants are encouraged to change their thinking style, or to disengage from emotional response to rumination and/or worry (e.g., through mindful techniques), could be helpful. Implications for treatment and avenues for future research are discussed.
- perseverative cognition
- systematic review