Parent socialization of adolescent rumination
This study investigated relationships between parent emotion socialization and ruminative responding to sad or depressed affect among a community sample of 205 male and female adolescents at variable risk for psychopathology. This was a cross-sectional study that utilized questionnaire and structured interview data obtained from adolescents and their parents. Rumination was conceived as a maladaptive cognitive style for regulating sadness that has been associated with increased duration, severity, and risk of depression. The Response Styles Questionnaire (RSQ; Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991) assessed frequency of rumination. Gender differences in rumination and relationships between adolescent rumination and depression were examined. Consistent with predictions, females reported more rumination than males, and adolescent rumination and depressive symptoms were positively related. Parent socialization of adolescent rumination was also investigated in this study. Parent modeling of ruminative styles was proposed to socialize adolescents' response styles. However, hypotheses predicting similarities in parent-adolescent rumination, particularly among same-sex dyads and in cases where parents were highly ruminative and more depressed, were not supported. Parental responses to children's expressed sadness were also proposed to socialize adolescents' ruminative response styles. Planned and exploratory analyses examined whether parent socialization practices (supportive, unsupportive, magnifying) perceived by adolescents as contingent upon their sadness displays during childhood related to adolescent rumination. Gender differences in adolescent-reported parent practices and the relative contributions of maternal and paternal practices to adolescent rumination were also explored. Unsupportive parent socialization practices and father's magnifying practices were associated with higher adolescent rumination. Adolescent girls, relative to boys, reported greater frequency of paternal supportive socialization in response to their expressed sadness. Generally, female adolescents reported more rumination than males across type, frequency, and agent of parent socialization practice. Parents' unsupportive and magnifying practices predicted adolescent rumination once adolescent sex was controlled, and parents' unsupportive and fathers' magnifying socialization explained variance in adolescent rumination beyond that of other practices. These results suggest that adolescent females, and adolescents of either sex who perceive their parents to have been punitive/neglectful or to have become sad/distressed in response to their sadness displays, may be particularly vulnerable to rumination. Prevention and treatment implications are discussed.