Does self-esteem moderate the association between co

Report
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Close Friends in College
Ellen Rodowsky & Rachel Rosensweig
1. Does self-esteem moderate the association between co-rumination and adjustment?
2. Are friends similar in their levels of self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, and do
they have a shared perspective on the quality of their relationship?
Background
Both self-esteem and co-rumination have been shown to influence
an individual’s psychological well-being. Rose (2002) defined corumination as “excessively discussing personal problems within a
dyadic relationship,” including discussing the same problem repeatedly
and dwelling on negative feelings. Rose (2002) found that girls coruminated significantly more than boys and that co-ruminators scored
higher in both positive friendship quality and internalizing symptoms.
Much of the current research in co-rumination shows that the effects
found by Rose (2002) in children and adolescents exist in coruminating young adult and adult friends as well (Barnstead,
Bouchard, Smith, 2013).
The function of self-esteem is to act as a subjective psychological
indicator to monitor the quality of people’s relationships with others
(Leary & Baumeister 2000). Previous research has examined the
relationship between self-esteem and the outcomes of co-rumination:
depression, anxiety, and positive friendship quality. Buunk and Prins
(1998) demonstrated that there is a relationship between self-esteem
and friendship quality, where loneliness increased and self-esteem
decreased with a lack of reciprocity in friendships. Sowislo & Orth
(2012) examined the impact of self-esteem on depression and
determined that it was stronger than the effect of depression on selfesteem. The results from this analysis indicate that self-esteem
influences levels of anxiety and depression, and this association may
be important when looking at co-rumination.
Both co-rumination and self-esteem influence friendship and social
behaviors, yet no research to date has looked into whether there is an
interaction between the two. The present study examined whether selfesteem moderates the link between co-rumination and the adjustment
outcomes of friendship quality, anxiety, and depression. This study
also measured correlations between pairs of friends for each of the
seven variables to explore the extent to which friends are similar in
their adjustment outcomes and perception of their friendship.
Hypotheses and Predictions
Hypothesis 1: Self-esteem moderates the relationship between corumination and the outcomes of depression, anxiety, and positive
friendship quality.
- Prediction: Low self-esteem individuals who co-ruminate will
report more symptoms of depression than high self-esteem
individuals, while high self-esteem individuals who co-ruminate
will report higher positive friendship quality than individuals
with low self-esteem.
Hypothesis 2: Friends will score similarly on variables relating to their
friendship but will not necessarily score similarly on variables relating
to the individual.
- Prediction: Friends will correlate highly on positive friendship
quality, negative friendship quality, and co-rumination, but will
correlate minimally on self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
Acknowledgements
A special thanks to our research advisor, Dr. Bagwell, for her continued help
and support throughout this project.
Method
Results: Correlations between variables
Self-Esteem Co-rum.
Depression
Generalized
Anxiety
Social
Anxiety
Positive
Friendship
Quality
Negative
Friendship
Quality
Self-Esteem 1
Co-rum.
-.15**
1
Participants
- 390 participants; 110 female dyads and 80 male dyads
- 31.3% first-years, 30% sophomores, 11.3% juniors, 27.1%
seniors
- 10.8% Asian/Pacific Islander, 5.3% Black/African-American,
3.7% Hispanic/Latino, 76.3% White/Caucasian, 3.9%
Other/Multiethnic
Procedure
Depression -.08
.15**
1
Generalized
.36**
Anxiety
.06
.70**
1
- Participants came to the lab with a close, same-sex friend
- Both participants completed an online assessment that
measured:
- Co-ruminative behaviors
- Depression
- General anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Positive friendship quality
- Negative friendship quality
Social
Anxiety
-.08
.19**
.47**
.38**
1
Positive
Friendship
Quality
-.19**
.38**
-.07
-.13*
-.01
1
Negative
Friendship
Quality
-.09
.12*
.08
.07
.05
.09
1
Results: Regression Analysis
R2
Standardized Coefficients
Beta: Corumination
Standardized
Coefficients Beta: Self
Esteem
Depression
.03**
.14**
-.05
Generalized Anxiety
.14**
.12**
.37**
Variable
Social Anxiety
.04**
.18**
-.06
Positive Friendship
Quality
.16**
.36**
-.13*
Negative Friendship
Quality
.02**
.12**
-.08
Results: Correlations between friends
r
r2
Self-Esteem
.82**
.66**
Co-rumination
.32**
.10**
Depression
.26**
.07**
Generalized Anxiety
.42**
.18**
.08
.01
Variable
Social Anxiety
Positive Friendship Quality
.55**
.30**
Negative Friendship Quality
.40**
.16**
Results & Discussion
- Findings replicated those found in previous studies of corumination
- Significant associations between co-rumination and adjustment
outcomes: depression, anxiety, and positive friendship quality.
- New findings regarding co-rumination indicate there is much more
to be learned about the complexity of this social behavior
- Significant association between co-rumination and negative
friendship quality, which might be explained by co-rumination’s
relationship with depression
- No significant interaction between co-rumination and self-esteem,
but additive main effects in the regression analyses were found.
- Found main effects for either self-esteem, co-rumination, or both
in each of the regression analyses
- Unexpected correlations demonstrate the complexity of self-esteem
and its relationship with friendship and adjustment
- Positive relationship between generalized anxiety and selfesteem is contrary to most previous findings, but can be
explained by the associations among adaptive perfectionism,
self-esteem, and anxiety
- Negative relationship between self-esteem and positive
friendship quality is contrary to expected findings; may be
explained by adjustment to college or perfectionism
- Calculating correlations within dyads is a unique way of observing
similarities and differences between friends
- Correlations between close friends suggest that not all friends
have a shared perspective on their relationship (i.e., corumination, positive and negative friendship quality).
Additional research is needed to evaluate the implications of
having vs. not having similar perceptions of the relationship.
- This study contributes important findings to the current
understandings of co-rumination and self-esteem within friendships
and sets the stage for future investigations.

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