This study examined how social support seeking and rumination interacted to predict depression and anxiety symptoms 6 months later in early adolescents (N = 118; 11-14 years at baseline). We expected social support seeking would be more helpful for adolescents engaging in low rather than high levels of rumination. Adolescents self-reported on all measures at baseline, and on depression and anxiety symptoms 6 months later. Social support seeking predicted fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety at low rumination levels but was not associated with benefits as rumination increased. For depression symptoms, social support seeking predicted more symptoms at high rumination levels. Results were stronger for emotion-focused than problem-focused support seeking and for depression compared with anxiety symptoms. These findings suggest that cognitive risk factors like rumination may explain some inconsistencies in previous social support literature, and highlight the importance of a nuanced approach to studying social support seeking.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies