This study examined the longitudinal associations between social media use, co-rumination (repeatedly discussing personal problems with peers), and internalizing symptoms during early adolescence.
Self-report measures were administered to a diverse sample of 1,205 early adolescents (51% girls; 51% non-Hispanic White; M= 12.75, SD = .71) at three time points (during the fall of 2016, spring of 2017, and fall of 2017).
Findings indicated that daily social media use predicted engagement in co-rumination, which in turn predicted increases in internalizing symptoms. Specifically, co-rumination significantly mediated social media use and anxiety symptoms.
Study limitations include the use of self-report data and the geographically limited sample (restricted to the Northeastern United States).
Findings from this study highlight an important interpersonal pathway by which social media use may confer risk for internalizing problems. Prevention and intervention programs designed to reduce the negative effects that social media use may have on adolescent internalizing problems should target co-rumination as a modifiable behavior and provide skills training in the use of more positive, adaptive coping strategies.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.