• Keeping Friends

Girl Talk: Too much of a good thing?

Published: August 21, 2007 | Last Updated: May 17, 2020 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading

When girl talk leads to rumination…

The findings of a recent study by Amanda Rose and colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia challenge the conventional wisdom that it’s always good for adolescent girls to get problems “off their chest” by talking about them to close friends…

The researchers studied more than 800 third, fifth, seventh, and ninth grade students, both male and female, who responded to questionnaires assessing co-rumination (excessive talking with friends about problems), depression, anxiety and the quality of their best friendship in the fall and spring of the school year.

The effects of rehashing problems over and over with friends were more problematic for females than males. “When girls co-ruminate, they’re spending such a high percentage of their time dwelling on problems and concerns that it probably makes them feel sad and more hopeless about the problems because those problems are in the forefront of their minds. Those are symptoms of depression,” says Rose, an associate professor of psychological sciences.

Another downside: more talking left them less time for doing things that might have distracted them from their problems. “This is especially true for problems that girls can’t control, such as whether a particular boy likes them, or whether they get invited to a party that all of the popular kids are attending,” Rose adds.

The bottom line: Adolescent girls should be encouraged to talk to their friends about their problems—but not to an extreme.

Prior research suggests that during adolescence, girls are more likely to self-disclose and also have a greater tendency to co-ruminate than boys. The authors point out that much of the extant literature on adolescent friendships emphasizes benefits and protective factors rather than potential risks and adjustment problems.

“The present research was useful for highlighting the idea that we need to adopt a careful, nuanced view when evaluating the role of friendships and social support in the lives of youth,” the authors wrote in the July 2007 issue of Developmental Psychology.


Rose AJ, Carlson W and Waller EM, Prospective Associations of Co-Rumination with Friendship and Emotional Adjustment: Considering the Socioemotional Trade-Offs of Co-Rumination, Developmental Psychology, 2007, Vol. 43, No. 4, 1019-1031.

University of Missouri Press Release,
July 16, 2007, Girls who complain about their problems at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression, says MU researcher

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Comments (3)

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  1. Gert says:

    You may not believe it now, but they are just as insecure as you–they are just hiding it. We have all been there and done that! Be strong and confident. If you don’t really feel that way, fake it! It’ll come. You have such strength–I look at what kids go through every day and I don’t know how you do it. I admire you for bearing up as well as you do. You just have to outlast it. Have you watched the Dog Whisperer? Confidence is attractive, and others follow you! Stand tall, your body/mind/ whatever is yours–appreciate it, own it, make it your badge. Then they’ll follow YOU.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Look you should not worry about what people say because they talk about Jesus Christ and the people that you say that are popular is not all what they seem. Let them talk and keep your head up and just pray and ask God to strenghen you threw all your problems. I no it sound strange but also pray for your enemys to because they need it to. Most of all ask God to help you threw your angry problem to I no I been there and watch how God chane things but remeber it is not our will but though will.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i am 13, i’m really skinny and people laugh at me, but i love to eat and i eat lots, it’s in my genes though. and i have been feeling depresed latley because my friends ignore me and they have all these fabulous partys with the popular people, and they all turn into nasty preps. and i cant talk to anyone belive me, ive tried please and whenever i get emotional i smash something because ive got anger problems -thats wot my mom says and i am so fed up please help me

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