Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 27–40 | Cite as

Co-Rumination in the Workplace: Adjustment Trade-offs for Men and Women Who Engage in Excessive Discussions of Workplace Problems

  • Dana L. Haggard
  • Christopher Robert
  • Amanda J. Rose



Developmental psychology research finds that when children and adolescents engage in excessive discussion of problems with friends, a phenomenon termed “co-rumination,” they experience trade-offs between negative adjustment outcomes (e.g., depression), but better friendship quality. This study examines the possibility that adults in the workplace engage in co-rumination about workplace problems, and that co-rumination, gender, and the presence of abusive supervision influence both positive and negative individual outcomes.


A sample of 147 adults ranging in age and occupation completed a questionnaire assessing co-rumination, abusive supervision, and workplace outcomes.


Results suggested that women engage in more co-rumination than men, and that abusive supervision exacerbates its negative effects for women. In contrast, for men experiencing high abusive supervision, co-rumination was associated with reduced negative effects. However, under low abusive supervision, co-rumination had no significant effect on any outcome variable for women, but was related to negative outcomes for men.


This study suggests that co-rumination is useful for understanding different types of social support in workplace contexts, and in particular, how men and women might differ in social support seeking. Co-rumination might prove useful for reconciling the somewhat mixed results regarding social support in helping individuals cope with workplace problems.


This study is the first to examine co-rumination in working adults. It provides insight into how the interaction among co-rumination, gender, and exposure to stress (e.g., abusive supervision) influence both positive and negative individual outcomes.


Co-rumination Abusive supervision Social support Workplace adjustment Emotional adjustment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dana L. Haggard
    • 1
  • Christopher Robert
    • 2
  • Amanda J. Rose
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ManagementMissouri State UniversitySpringfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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