Linkers and Nonlinkers: Goal Beliefs as a Moderator of the Effects of Everyday Hassles on Rumination, Depression, and Physical Complaints1


  • 1

    The authors would like to thank Marilyn Mendolia and Abe Tesser for their helpful comments. This research was supported by Grant No. 1021RR274100 from the National Science Foundation to the third author.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Leonard L. Martin, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.


We blocked subjects on their tendency to link the attainment of lower order goals (e.g., being one's ideal weight) to the attainment of a higher-order goal (i.e., being happy). We then assessed the number of everyday hassles these subjects experienced, the amount of rumination they reported, their level of depression, and the extent to which they were bothered by a number of physical symptoms. These measures were taken at 2 time periods, 2 weeks apart. In the first session, subjects who tended dispositionally to link lower-order goals to higher order ones were more likely than were those who did not make this link to ruminate, experience depression, and complain of physical symptoms. At Session 2, linkers who had experienced a high number of hassles in Session 1 reported higher depression and more bother from physical symptoms than did any of the other groups. These results are consistent with the growing body of evidence indicating a relation between rumination and depression and suggest that one factor that determines rumination is the extent to which people link the attainment of lower-order goals to the attainment of higher-order goals.