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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1365;

Trait Rumination Predicts Elevated Evening Cortisol in Sexual and Gender Minority Young Adults

Department of Psychology, Ohio University, 200 Porter Hall, Athens, OH 45701, USA
Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Grover Center W324, Athens, OH 45701, USA
Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, 460 Medical Center Drive, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, 35 W. Green Drive, Athens, OH 45701, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 October 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress and Health)
PDF [520 KB, uploaded 9 November 2017]


Stress may contribute to illness through the impaired recovery or sustained activity of stress-responsive biological systems. Rumination, or mental rehearsal of past stressors, may alter the body’s stress-responsive systems by amplifying and prolonging exposure to physiological mediators, such as cortisol. The primary aim of the current investigation was to test the extent to which the tendency to ruminate on stress predicts diminished diurnal cortisol recovery (i.e., elevated evening cortisol) in a sample of sexual and gender minority young adults. Participants included 58 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young adults (Mage = 25.0, SD = 4.1) who completed an initial online survey that assessed trait rumination and current depressed mood. Participants completed daily evening questionnaires and provided salivary cortisol samples at wake, 45 min post-wake, 12 h post-wake, and at bedtime over seven consecutive days. Trait rumination predicted significantly higher cortisol concentrations at bedtime, but was unrelated to other cortisol indices (e.g., morning cortisol, diurnal slope, total output). The association with trait rumination was not accounted for by daily negative affect, and was largely independent of depressed mood. These results have implications for identifying and treating those who may be at risk for impaired diurnal cortisol recovery and associated negative health outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: rumination; cortisol; stress; recovery; sexual and gender minority; depressed mood rumination; cortisol; stress; recovery; sexual and gender minority; depressed mood

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Zoccola, P.M.; Manigault, A.W.; Figueroa, W.S.; Hollenbeck, C.; Mendlein, A.; Woody, A.; Hamilton, K.; Scanlin, M.; Johnson, R.C. Trait Rumination Predicts Elevated Evening Cortisol in Sexual and Gender Minority Young Adults. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1365.

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