The Cost of Co-Rumination: Excessive Problem Discussion is Linked to Anxiety, Depression, and Negative Friendship Features in College Students

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2016-05-01

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Abstract

Co-rumination is the extensive discussion and speculation about problems that occurs in dyadic relationships, and has been found to be linked to both positive friendship quality and internalizing symptoms for youth (Rose, 2002). To date, most research on co-rumination has focused on the associations between co-rumination and anxiety, depression, and composite measures of positive friendship quality. The present study (n = 283 college students; 57% women) examined whether gender differences in and correlations between co-rumination and anxiety, depression, and friendship quality observed in research with adolescents would replicate with a college-aged sample. In addition, the study expanded on previous research by examining links between co-rumination and two additional adjustment outcomes: friendship satisfaction and loneliness, and by examining links between co-rumination and specific positive and negative features of friendship in addition to overall positive friendship quality. Finally, the study examined the degree to which friendships high versus low in co-rumination were characterized by a variety of activities, topics of discussion, and topics of conflict. Participants responded to questionnaires online assessing emotional adjustment and aspects of their closest same sex friendship, including co-rumination. Results indicated that co-rumination was not linked to loneliness or to friendship satisfaction, but was linked to anxiety for women, and to depression for both women and men. Additionally, co-rumination was correlated with four of the 10 positive features studied, and with all 15 of the negative friendship features examined in the study. Friendships differing in frequency of co-rumination also differed in the activities, conflicts, and topics of discussion in which they engaged. Overall, the results suggest that co-ruminating with friends can be problematic for college students, especially for women, and that friendships high in co-rumination are higher in negative features and not just in the positive features previously studied.

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Gold, Caitlyn Elisabeth (2016). The Cost of Co-Rumination: Excessive Problem Discussion is Linked to Anxiety, Depression, and Negative Friendship Features in College Students. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11951.


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