This research introduced and studied a new response style construct, co-distraction. Co-distraction refers to diversion of attention from emotional problems to a neutral or pleasant stimulus within a dyadic relationship. It is characterized by discussing or engaging in neutral or pleasant activities, mutual encouragement to discuss or engage in neutral or pleasant activities, and a focus on positive feelings. It was hypothesized that co-distraction would serve a protective function by relating positively to friendship quality and negatively to depression and anxiety.
Participants were undergraduate college students who were recruited and tested online. They completed questionnaires measuring rumination, distraction, co-rumination, co-distraction, depression, anxiety, and friendship quality. In describing co-rumination, co-distraction, and friendship quality, participants reported on their relationship with their closest same-sex friend. Due to large differences in sample sizes between males (N = 40) and females (N = 138) as well as previously found gender differences on response style and emotional distress variables, the genders were studied separately in statistical analyses.
Results for co-distraction were as follows: (a) co-distraction scores had high reliability (alpha = .93), (b) co-distraction was positively correlated with positive friendship quality for females but not for males; (c) co-distraction was unrelated to emotional distress for both genders; and (d) it correlated positively with distraction and co-rumination for both genders. As predicted, rumination correlated positively with depression and anxiety, whereas distraction correlated negatively with anxiety for males only. Unexpectedly, co-rumination correlated negatively with one measure of depression for males and was unrelated to emotional distress for females. Distraction was positively correlated with co-rumination for males but was unrelated to co-rumination for females. All told, results were partly consistent with response styles theory.
In general, predicted gender differences were not obtained, and many results ran counter to expectation. The findings were discussed in light of the sample's highly diverse composition, and they emphasize the importance of taking into account culture when studying associations between response styles and outcomes of emotional distress and friendship quality. Implications for theory and for psychotherapy practice with depressed and anxious clients were discussed. Limitations and directions for future research were considered.
|Commitee:||Swope, Alan J., Tiet, Quyen|
|School:||Alliant International University|
|Department:||San Francisco, CSPP|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Co-rumination, Distraction, Friendship quality, Response styles theory, Rumination, Undergraduate college students|
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