Ruminative thinking exacerbates the negative effects of workplace violence

Karen Niven, Christine A. Sprigg, Christopher J. Armitage, Adam Satchwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we investigate the impact of engaging in ruminative-style thoughts after exposure to workplace violence. Rumination is a form of self-focused thinking characterized by abstract and passive negative thoughts. In an experimental study in which student volunteers were exposed to simulated violence using a video manipulation, the unpleasant affect of participants instructed to ruminate about the violence persisted, while the affect of participants in a distraction condition was quickly repaired. In a field study of violence experienced by social workers in their everyday working lives, employees who had a high tendency to engage in ruminative thinking exhibited a stronger negative relationship between exposure to violence and poor well-being and health complaints compared with those who had a low tendency to ruminate. Together, our findings suggest that ruminative thinking may exacerbate the negative effects of workplace violence. © 2012 The British Psychological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-84
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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