Ashley M. Battaglini, Katerina Rnic, Ellen Jopling, Alison Tracy, Joelle LeMoult

Communication modality matters: Co‐rumination via in‐person versus digital modalities has different prospective associations with depression and friendship quality

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health

AbstractIntroductionCo‐rumination is an interpersonal emotion regulation strategy in which negative feelings and problems are discussed perseveratively with another person. Although co‐rumination is salient in adolescence, research to date has focused on co‐rumination occurring in person and has not kept pace with the surge in digital communication that begins in adolescence. This study examined the degree, associations among, and consequences (i.e., depressive symptoms, and friendship quality) of adolescents' co‐rumination via in‐person, text, social media, and phone modalities.MethodsAdolescents (n = 109; 51 girls, 57 boys, 1 nonbinary; Mage = 12.83 years) residing in Canada, completed self‐report questionnaires on co‐rumination, depressive symptoms, and friendship quality for up to 2 years.ResultsAdolescents engaged in co‐rumination across all modalities, particularly in‐person. Findings indicated a negative association between in‐person co‐rumination at baseline and in‐person co‐rumination over time. Whereas less text co‐rumination was associated with increased depressive symptoms over time, greater phone co‐rumination was associated with increased depressive symptoms over time. Although greater in‐person co‐rumination was positively associated with friendship quality concurrently, it was negatively associated with friendship quality prospectively.ConclusionsTaken together, co‐rumination outcomes may vary depending on communication modality. Implications for adolescents' mental and social wellbeing are discussed.

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