The ecological validity of trait-level rumination measures among women with binge eating symptoms

Kathryn E. Smith, Katherine Schaumberg, Erin E. Reilly, Lisa M. Anderson, Lauren M. Schaefer, Robert Dvorak, Ross D. Crosby, Stephen A. Wonderlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cognitive rumination is a transdiagnostic construct that has been increasingly studied in the context of eating disorders (EDs). While this literature has consistently linked trait-level general and ED-specific forms of rumination to ED psychopathology, it is not clear whether trait-level measures are independently related to symptoms in daily life. Therefore, the present study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to assess the ecological validity of trait measures of general rumination and ED-specific rumination, and assess the degree to which ruminative brooding and reflection were differentially related to relevant momentary affective, cognitive, and behavioral processes. Methods: Forty women completed baseline measures (Ruminative Response Scale [RRS] and Ruminative Response Scale for Eating Disorders [RRSED]) followed by a 10-day EMA protocol. Results: Generalized estimating equations indicated trait-level ED-specific rumination was related to momentary general and ED-specific rumination, and trait-level general and ED-specific rumination were related to momentary affect and concentration difficulties. Trait-level general rumination was related to momentary self-discrepancy, while higher trait-level ED-specific rumination was related to greater loss of control eating, overeating, and body dissatisfaction. Lastly, trait levels of ruminative brooding, compared to reflection, were more consistently related to maladaptive momentary symptoms (i.e., general rumination, negative affect, concentration problems, body dissatisfaction). Conclusion: Together these findings support the ecological validity of the RRSED and identify shared and unique momentary correlates of the RRS and RRSED. Results also highlight the importance of measuring and addressing trait- and state-level ruminative processes that are both general and specific to ED psychopathology in research and clinical work. Level of evidence: Level V, observational descriptive study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Eating disorders
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Ecological validity
  • Rumination


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