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The Vicious Circle of Misery and Company

Posted Jan 07 2009 6:52pm

We all know that misery and company like each other, but the fallout from finding a friend to commiserate with can actually make matters worse.

The American Psychological Association is reporting that girls are more likely than boys to develop anxiety and depression as a result of extensive conversations with friends about their problems.

Co-rumination (excessively talking with another person about problems, including rehashing them and dwelling on the negative feelings associated with them) has costs and benefits. For girls, talking with a friend increased the feelings of closeness, but the co-rumination increased depressive and anxiety symptoms, which in turn, contributed to greater co-rumination. Setting into motion a vicious circle.

I have seen this trend in my work with young girls and recommend that they seek out additional friendships - pals that are positive thinking, upbeat and problem solving oriented.

I think the key here is to know that the cycle of visiting and re-visiting negative experiences without a positive spin can prevent one from getting out of the black hole. And I do think this holds true not only for girls, but for anyone who may have anxiety or depressive predispositions.

See the full text study here.
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