Category: Child / Adolescent - Depression
Research indicates that co-rumination (CR), which involves excessive discussion of and speculation about problems, is related to increased levels of depressive symptoms concurrently and prospectively in adolescents (Hankin, Stone, & Wright, 2010; Starr & Davila, 2009). Few studies have examined CR within the framework of a diathesis-stress model of depression, but preliminary evidence shows that CR may serve as a diathesis to naturally occurring stressors, thus resulting in increased stress reactivity (Bastin, Mezulis, Ahles, Raes, & Bijttebier, 2014; Starr, 2015; White & Shih, 2012). However, little is known about factors that may impact CR’s influence on stress reactivity. One potential factor may be perceived social support (PSS). Given prior studies that have shown CR is associated with increased friendship quality and other positive friendship qualities (Rose, 2002; Starr & Davila, 2009), it is possible that greater PSS derived from CR may provide benefits that buffer against stress reactivity. The present study seeks to examine the role that PSS plays in the impact of CR on stress reactivity in depression.
The sample included 241 adolescents aged 14-17 (Mage=15.90, SD=1.09; 52% female; 74% Caucasian) recruited from the community. The UCLA Life Stress Interview, adolescent version (LSI; Hammen & Brennan, 2001), coded using the contextual threat method, was used to assess recent episodic stress. CR was assessed using the Co-Rumination Scale (Rose, 2002). The short-form Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ6; Sarason et al., 1987), which measures both perceived sources of and satisfaction with social support, was used to assess PSS. Depression symptoms were assessed using The Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL; Kaufman et al., 1997). Results indicate that the episodic stress x CR x PSS interaction was significant in predicting depressive symptoms, both when PSS was measured by perceived sources of support (B= -.0131, SE = .005, p=.004) and overall support satisfaction (B= -.033, SE= .014, p= .018). For both interactions, CR intensified the episodic stress-depression association only at low levels of PSS (ps< .005) and not at high levels of PSS. In other words, episodic stress predicted depression more strongly when CR was high, but only at low levels of PSS.
Results suggest that PSS complicates the impact of CR on stress reactivity. At low levels of PSS and high CR, greater stress reactivity is shown as compared to low CR. However, at high levels of PSS, the level of CR does not impact stress reactivity. Thus, the amount and quality of PSS could potentially diffuse the negative effect of CR, and, to the extent that adolescents draw PSS from CR, they may be less vulnerable to stress reactivity.