Girls are more likely to engage in rumination, associated with the development of mental health problems, as well as report higher levels of friendship quality, hypothesized to protect against these disorders. The current study examined whether co-rumination may drive simultaneous increases in rumination and changes in friendship quality among adolescents. The project included 360 participants (43% boys), ages 9.8 to 15.8 years, and analyses revealed that co-rumination mediated the link between female sex and both rumination and negative friendship quality. There was also a bidirectional relation between co-rumination and positive friendship quality. These findings highlight several pathways by which co-rumination mediates the relation between sex and both maladaptive (i.e. rumination, negative friendship quality) and adaptive (i.e. positive friendship quality) outcomes.
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As students were asked to report their sex, the term “sex” (which refers to a biological construct) is used throughout the manuscript rather than “gender” (which refers to the social roles associated with sex).
In order to further examine the role of age in these relations, a sex by age (measured continuously) interaction was also examined as a predictor of Wave 1 rumination, co-rumination, positive and negative friendship quality. The interaction was not a significant predictor of any construct, nor was the indirect effect of the interaction significant in any of proposed mediation pathways.
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This research was supported by a gift from Patricia and Rodes Hart, by support from the Warren Family Foundation, and by NICHD grant (1R01HD059891) to David A. Cole. Julia W. Felton was supported by an NRSA grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH079670) during the completion of this work.
J.F. conceived of the study with D.C., oversaw the data collection, analyzed the data and contributed to writing the manuscript; D.C. co-conceived the study, participated in the design of the study, created the data analytic plan, and provided feedback on all drafts of the manuscript; M.H., G.K., and V.B. contributed to drafting the manuscript. All authors have read and accepted the final manuscript.
This study was funded by a gift from the Patricia and Rodes Hart Foundation, the Warren Family Foundation, and the NICHD (1R01HD059891) to David A. Cole. The study was also funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH079670) awarded to Julia Felton.
Data Sharing and Declaration
The study’s data will not be deposited.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was conducted in compliance with all procedures approved by the Vanderbilt University Institutional Review Board. All protocols were consistent with national and international ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all study participants.
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Felton, J.W., Cole, D.A., Havewala, M. et al. Talking Together, Thinking Alone: Relations among Co-Rumination, Peer Relationships, and Rumination. J Youth Adolescence 48, 731–743 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0937-z
- Friendship quality