Depressive symptomatology and alcohol misuse among treatment-seeking military veterans: Indirect associations via ruminative thinking.

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Addictive Behaviors


Background: Veterans are particularly vulnerable to experiencing concurrent issues related to depression and alcohol misuse. Despite this well-established susceptibility, research explicating targetable mechanisms that can account for this comorbidity remains limited. The present study sought to examine the explanatory role of ruminative thought processing within the depression and alcohol misuse relationship.Method: The sample included 230 veterans presenting to a general mental health clinic at a large Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital (83% male, 58% African American, Mage = 50.61, SDage = 13.79). As part of their intake evaluation, veterans completed a brief battery of self-report questionnaires to assist with diagnostic clarification and treatment planning.Results: A significant total effect was observed between depression and alcohol misuse. An indirect effect between depression and alcohol misuse via rumination was also found. Notably, when examining two subtypes of rumination, an indirect effect between depression and alcohol misuse via reflective pondering but not brooding was evinced.Conclusions: Findings suggest that ruminative thought processing may be an explanatory risk factor within the depression and alcohol misuse relationship. By testing the simultaneous indirect effects of brooding rumination and reflective pondering, the present study also offers novel insights concerning the circumstances under which reflection may become a maladaptive process.

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