Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Michael D. Anestis

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Joye C. Anestis

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Bradley A. Green

Committee Member 3 Department



Recent research in suicide has called for an increased focus on factors that facilitate an individual’s transition from suicidal ideation to action (Klonsky & May, 2014). Rumination, the repetitive fixation on negative emotional material, has been associated with not only increased suicidal ideation but also a history of self-injury and suicide attempts (Morrison & O’Connor, 2008), suggesting that it may contribute to the ability to inflict lethal and non-lethal self-harm. Given that past research has found physiological differences between low (ex. sadness) and high (ex. anger) arousal negative affective states, the present thesis project sought to examine the effects of anger and sadness rumination on state pain tolerance and impulsivity to examine the mechanisms that underlie non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal behaviors. The moderating effect of suicide risk on the aforementioned relationships was also examined. A sample of 120 undergraduate students were randomly assigned into one of four conditions: control, anger, sadness, or anger with sadness and underwent an idiographic emotion (Pitman et al., 1987) and rumination induction (Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow, 1993). They also completed subjective and behavioral measures assessing emotion, impulsivity, and pain tolerance. Results were not supportive of the hypothesis that individuals who engage in anger (vs. sadness) rumination will experience greater levels of state impulsivity and pain tolerance. Furthermore, suicide risk did not appear to impact the aforementioned relationships.