Rumination influences the relationship between trauma and depression over time among youth living with HIV

the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network CARES Study Team

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Background: Traumatizing events often result in long-term mental health symptoms. Identifying the features of the post-trauma experiences that can impact mental health symptoms is key to designing effective interventions. Methods: Youth living with HIV (YLH),1 predominantly sexual and gender minorities (SGM;2 84 % gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, pansexual identities), 78 % Black and Latino, (N = 170) were recruited in New Orleans, LA and Los Angeles, CA from 13 youth-serving agencies. They were assessed for trauma, rumination and depression, with 78 % reassessed for depression at 4 and 74 % at 8 months later. Relationships between these variables were examined using a Bayesian approach to structural equation modeling. Results: At recruitment, 78 % of YLH reported at least one traumatic event, and 21 % met the cut-off score indicating depression on the PHQ-9. Ruminations were reported by 41 % of YLH. While associations between trauma and depression were modest (rmean = 0.19), ruminations were moderately associated with depressive symptoms over time (rmean = 0.34). Ruminations were only modestly associated with trauma (rmean = 0.19) but had a robust negative association (λSTD = −0.29) with the slope of depressive symptoms such that the more ruminations YLH experienced, the smaller the decline in depression over time. The associations between trauma and depression were more modest (λSTD ≤ 0.12). Limitations The main limitations of this study are the lack of a scale to measure trauma and the use of a single item measure of rumination. Conclusion: Ruminations appear to be associated with traumatic events for a large subset of young people, suggesting that future interventions should consider including components addressing ruminations. registration NCT03109431.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of affective disorders
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • Depression
  • HIV
  • Rumination
  • Trauma
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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