Category: Child / Adolescent - Depression
Co-rumination refers to discussing problems with another person in a repetitive, symptom-focused manner and has been shown to predict depression onset in adolescents (Rose, 2007). A separate body of literature has established the relationship between depression and negative appraisal bias (e.g., Beck, 2008). One way to define negative appraisal bias is to evaluate the discrepancy between participant-generated subjective ratings of stressor severity and team ratings of objective stressor severity, using gold-standard contextual threat methods (e.g., Espejo et al., 2011). In this study, we focus specifically on interpersonal negative appraisal bias. As interpersonal events are uniquely salient to depression, the tendency to overrate negative interpersonal events may be particularly depressogenic. No research has examined negative appraisal bias within the context of co-rumination. The tendency to overestimate the impact of stressors may leave youth more vulnerable to the problem-focused nature of co-rumination. The current study examines negative appraisal bias as a moderator of the relationship between co-rumination and depression.
We used a sample of 241 adolescents from the community between the ages of 14 and 17 (M age= 15.907, SD=1.088, 53.9% female). We assessed depression using the Kiddie-Schedule of Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (Orvaschel, 1995); depression was rated using a dimensional coding system based on severity. Co-rumination was measured using the Co-Rumination Questionnaire (Rose, 2002). Episodic stressors were assessed using the Lifetime Stress Interview (Hammen & Brennan, 2001). Objective severity of individual events was team coded using contextual threat methods; in addition, participants subjectively rated severity of each event. An appraisal bias score was calculated by regressing subjective scores on objective scores and taking standardized residuals. Contrary to previous findings, co-rumination and depression were not significantly correlated (B = .066, SE = .073 p = .37). However, as expected, there was a significant interaction between co-rumination and interpersonal negative appraisal bias, predicting depressive symptoms. At high levels of negative interpersonal appraisal bias, co-rumination significantly predicted depression (interaction term B = -.166, SE = .083, p = .046), but at low levels it did not (B = -.117, SE = .07, p = .093). Importantly, this interaction was non-significant for appraisal bias calculated with non-interpersonal events, suggesting that appraisal biases may have differential implications depending on the nature of the episodic stressor. Our findings contribute to research on co-rumination and suggest that interpersonal appraisal bias impacts the depressogenic nature of co-rumination.