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Co-rumination and co-problem solving in the daily lives of adolescents with major depressive disorder.

  • Author(s): Waller, Jennifer M
  • Silk, Jennifer S
  • Stone, Lindsey B
  • Dahl, Ronald E
  • et al.


This study examines differences in the prevalence and nature of co-rumination during real-world social interactions with peers and parents among adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) compared to healthy controls.


A total of 60 youth (29 with current MDD and 31 controls without psychopathology) completed a self-report measure of co-rumination and a 3-week ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol that measured the nature of face-to-face social interactions with peers and parents after a negative event in the adolescents' daily lives. Specifically, EMA was used to assess rates of problem talk, including both co-rumination and co-problem solving. Group differences in self-report and EMA measures were examined.


Adolescents with MDD reported co-ruminating more often than adolescents with no Axis 1 disorders during daily interactions with both parents (Cohen's d = 0.78) and peers (d = 1.14), and also reported more co-rumination via questionnaire (d = 0.58). Adolescents with MDD engaged in co-problem solving with peers less often than did healthy controls (d = 0.78), but no group differences were found for rates of co-problem solving with parents.


Results are consistent with previous research linking co-rumination and depression in adolescence and extend these self-report-based findings to assessment in an ecologically valid context. Importantly, the results support that MDD youth tend to co-ruminate more and to problem-solve less with peers in their daily lives compared to healthy youth, and that co-rumination also extends to parental relationships. Interventions focused on decreasing co-rumination with peers and parents and improving problem-solving skills with peers may be helpful for preventing and treating adolescent depression.

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