Closeness Could Cause Anxiety
While teens are enjoying themselves by the pool and talking this summer, too much talking could lead to depression or anxiety, according to an MU study published in the journal "Developmental Psychology."
While talking about issues can create a stronger friendship, the professor who led the study says there are some drawbacks.
"These kids became closer to their friend across the school year, which was very positive," said MU psychology professor Amanda Rose. "But there were also tradeoffs, in terms of their adjustment, because co-ruminating with friends was also found to lead to increased depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms for girls."
The six-month study looked at 813 boys and girls. Subjects for the study were enrolled in the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th grades at public schools in mid-Missouri. One local teen says she agrees with the findings of the study.
"Sometimes if you talk about it so much, that you start to think wow that is a really bad situation and it just keeps building and you pick up little things that you wouldn't have before," said Nicole Thompson. "And you just put it into a bad perspective, and it all goes downhill from there."
Researchers say girls don't need to stop talking to each altogether. Instead of talking about love interests or who is going to this weekend's party, Rose suggests girls talk about issues they have control over.
"It probably is more adaptive for kids to spend time talking about issues they can control, like doing better in math class, or improving their skills at soccer," Rose said.
Researchers didn't find a causal relationship between talking more and anxiety and depression. But the girls who did talk more showed more signs during testing. While the study did not find an increase in signs of anxiety or depression for boys, researchers say boys could be at risk if they have no one to talk to about their problems.