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.