Talking over a problem makes teenage girls more unhappy

July 19, 2007 - 0:0

Talking about your troubles is often said to be the first step toward dealing with them.

But that advice does not hold good for teenage girls -- or so researchers think. They found that girls who spend a lot of their time discussing their adolescent woes with friends are more prone to depression than boys. It is thought they tend to dwell on problems more and are likelier to blame themselves when things go wrong. Researcher Amanda Rose said youngsters should be encouraged to talk about their concerns -- but only in moderation. She said they would do better to take their minds off their worries by learning a sport or pursuing an interest. The psychologist, who spent six months studying the effects of teenage problem-sharing or ""co-rumination"", said: ""Talking about problems and getting social support is linked with being healthy. ""What's intriguing about these findings is that co-rumination likely represents too much of a good thing. ""Some kids, especially girls, are taking talking about problems to an extreme. When that happens, the balance tips and talking about problems with friends can become emotionally unhealthy."" Dr. Rose, of the University of Missouri-Columbia, issued her warning after assessing the health and friendships of more than 800 girls and boys. She found that sharing problems strengthened friendships. However, when problems were dwelt on and continually rehashed, it made girls, but not boys, more prone to anxiety and depression. The researcher added: ""This is especially true for problems that girls can't control, such as whether a particular boy likes them, or whether they get invited to a party that all of the popular kids are attending."" Writing in the journal Developmental Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association, she warned parents and teachers: ""The findings caution us against being lulled into a false sense of security about youths, especially girls, with seemingly supportive friendships."" Kathryn Pugh, of the charity Young Minds, said having good friends was no guarantee of receiving good advice. She added: ""If a problem is being dwelt on excessively or to the exclusion of all other topics, it may be appropriate for adults to step in to try to help."" (Source: Daily Mail