Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 1037–1051 | Cite as

Co-Brooding and Co-Reflection as Differential Predictors of Depressive Symptoms and Friendship Quality in Adolescents: Investigating the Moderating Role of Gender

  • Margot Bastin
  • Janne Vanhalst
  • Filip Raes
  • Patricia Bijttebier
Empirical Research


Co-rumination has been shown advantageous for friendship quality, but disadvantageous for mental health. Recently, two components have been distinguished, with co-brooding predicting increases in depressive symptoms and co-reflection decreases. The current study aimed to replicate these findings and investigated whether both components also show differential relations with friendship quality. Gender was investigated as a moderator. Path analyses were used on data of 313 adolescents aged 9–17 (50.5% girls). Co-brooding was related to more concurrent and prospective depressive symptoms in girls. Co-reflection predicted less concurrent and prospective depressive symptoms in girls and higher concurrent positive friendship quality for boys and girls. This study underscores the value of studying co-rumination components and suggests that boys and girls in this context differ in their pathways towards depression.


Co-brooding Co-reflection Co-rumination Depressive symptoms Friendship quality Adolescence 



The authors thank Katrien De Jonghe, Elien Geerdens, Kimberly Paulussen, Femke Van Vlierberghe, Kirsten Verhuizen, and Lesley Wouters for their help in the data collection. This study was funded by Research Foundation—Flanders (Grant G.0923.12 to Patricia Bijttebier and PhD fellowship to Margot Bastin). Filip Raes is supported by the KU Leuven Centre of Excellence on Generalization Research (GRIP*TT; PF/10/005).

Authors' Contributions

M.B. conceived and designed the study, collected the data, performed the statistical analyses, interpreted the data, and took the lead in writing up the manuscript. J.V. participated in drafting the manuscript, assisted in data analyses and interpretation, and critically revised the manuscript. F.R. participated in the conception and design of the study and critically revised the manuscript. P.B. participated in the conception and design of the study, participated in drafting the manuscript, and critically revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the local research Ethics Committee (S-number 55360).

Ethical Standard

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School Psychology and Development in ContextKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for Psychology of Learning and Experimental PsychopathologyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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