Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Wayne Harrison


Rumination, defined as repetitive and automatic thought reviewing of negative experiences, was the major object to explore. The research contemplated the mechanism facilitating the occurrence of ruminative thoughts. The hypothesis was that negative emotion from depreciated performance as well as the task requiring self-disclosure might instigate the intense discomfort within which rumination might occur. The researcher examined the potential interaction effect of Performance Feedback x Self-disclosure on rumination. In addition, stable individual characteristics of social anxiety might affect rumination. The statistical analysis explored the predictive effect of social anxiety on rumination. When the situation required one to disclose the self as well as receiving negative performance evaluation, one’s current social anxiety might still play a role affecting the rumination. Therefore, the interaction of Social Anxiety x Performance Feedback x Self-disclosure was a concern as well. The research undertook a sham speech test with performance feedback and need to self-disclose varied. This 2x2 factorial experiment collected data from 52 undergraduate students, with each individual giving an impromptu speech alone in front of the researcher who declared himself as a judge for speech before the debriefing. The researcher delivered a misleading experimental purpose to the participants for the deception at the outset of the experiment. The researcher measured the participant’s social anxiety with a questionnaire in the initial stage of the experiment. The emotional valence of speech performance feedback (positive vs. negative) was manipulated, as was the need for self-disclosure during the speech. Leaving the experimental site for eight minutes and returning, the researcher assessed for the participants’ ruminative thoughts which occurred during this interval. This paper used ANCOVA to perform the statistical estimations. However, the statistical analyses did not show significance to fit the research hypothesis except for the main effect of performance feedback on the ruminative thoughts. The experiment’s perceived authenticity, the misunderstanding of self-disclosure mechanism and the construct validity of the adopted rumination questionnaire were the weak points and thus the lack of the significant findings was attributed to the experiment procedures and measurements, not the founding theory.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Copyright 2009 Chun Han Chen.