On the links between self-discrepancies, rumination, metacognitions, and symptoms of depression in undergraduates

J. Roelofs*, C. Papageorgiou, R.D. Gerber, M.J.H. Huibers, F.P.M.L. Peeters, A. Arntz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study aimed to test the central components of Papageorgiou and Wells' (2003) non-clinical metacognitive model of rumination and depression that is grounded on the Self-Regulatory Executive Function (S-REF) model of emotional disorders [Wells, A., & Matthews, G. (1994). Attention and emotion: A clinical perspective. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum.]. A second aim of this study was to extend the non-clinical model with the concept of self-discrepancy in line with the S-REF model. Data of the current study were collected in a large sample of non-clinical Dutch undergraduates (N=196), who completed a battery of questionnaires including measures of rumination, positive and negative metacognitions, depressive symptoms, and self-discrepancy (i.e., actual-ideal, actual-ought, and actual-feared discrepancies). Hypothesized relationships among these variables were tested by means of structural equation modelling. Following some theoretically consistent modifications, the model was an adequate fit to the data. With respect to the second aim of the study, self-discrepancies were directly linked to symptoms of depression as well as indirectly via the cognitive processes involved in the metacognitive model of rumination and depression. Evidence was found for positive beliefs about rumination to partially mediate the relation between self-discrepancy and rumination. Clinical implications of the findings, including implementation of a metacognitive-focused cognitive therapy of depression, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1305
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Metacognitions
  • Rumination
  • Self-discrepancy


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