Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Rebecca Schwartz-Mette

Second Committee Member

Emily Haigh

Third Committee Member

Cynthia Erdley

Additional Committee Members

Jordan LaBouff

Mollie Ruben


The present research aimed to better understand the associations among romantic involvement, co-rumination with friends, and depressive symptom development in a sample of 338 adolescents (ages 14-19 years). Using a multi-method, longitudinal study design, the present study examined whether co-rumination (self-reported and observed) mediated the relationship between romantic involvement and depressive symptoms over time. Next, analyses separately tested whether this process was further moderated by positive friendship quality, whether youth discuss romantic experiences during problem talk with friends, and/or gender. Analyses also tested whether romantic relationship quality among romantically involved youth influenced depressive symptoms over time via co-rumination.

Results supported an indirect effect of romantic involvement on later depressive symptoms via self-reported (but not observed) co-rumination, suggesting that romantically-involved youth who self-report engaging in co-rumination may be more prone to depressive symptom development. There was little support for the association being further moderated by discussing romantic problems, friendship quality, and/or gender. Moreover, results did not support hypotheses that co-rumination would mediate the link between romantic relationship quality and depressive symptoms over time. Future studies should assess the content of romantic co-rumination more specifically to better understand its impact on the link between romantic involvement and depression. Future research also could recruit larger and more diverse samples of youth to obtain sufficient variability in romantic involvement, gender identity, and friendship composition (e.g., same gender, gender diverse). Potential contributions of this research for the development of evidence-based interventions for youth with depressive symptoms are explored.