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Talking could worsen girls’ woes, study finds

Los Angeles Times The Spokesman-Review

Constant teenage venting over crushes, popularity or other personal problems may lead to anxiety and depression in girls – but not in boys, according to new research.

A study of 813 students ages 8 to 15 in the journal Developmental Psychology this month found that excessive discussions and ruminations about problems strengthened friendships for both sexes, but those tighter bonds came at a cost for girls.

Amanda Rose, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia and lead author, said the results may reflect a cultural tendency of girls to blame themselves when they aren’t invited to parties or when boys don’t call back.

Rose said girls got caught up in a “vicious cycle” in which depression or anxiety spurred rumination, which in turn led to increased depression or anxiety.

She said parents should realize that their daughters could be at risk of depression or anxiety despite having supportive friendships.

The study’s findings add a cautionary note to the perennial advice to the young that they should always talk out their problems instead of bottling them up.

“Talking about problems is a good thing, but too much talk is too much of a good thing,” Rose said.

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