very interesting, and somewhat counter-intuitive (at least to me), new research shows that talking about “crushes, popularity, and other personal issues” does not have an impact on boys who do this regularly, but can lead to depression for girls. this article in the l.a. times reports.
“Talking about problems is a good thing, but too much talk is too much of a good thing,” one of the researchers said.
i have always thought it wonderfully healthy for kids to talk about their “stuff”. but this study shows there’s a limit, in a sense.
[the researcher] said girls got caught up in a “vicious cycle” in which depression or anxiety spurred rumination, which in turn led to increased depression or anxiety.
(ht to bob c, via email)
6 thoughts on “girl-talk linked to depression”
The question is, how do we as leaders discern between “healing” and “wallowing”?
I think that the article’s penning the girls’ thought process as a viscious cycle is completely accurate. I think sometimes a girl really needs to work through an issue in her own head, without outside influence. And sometimes the deeper she goes into an issue, the worse she feels about herself. I think it is very important for her friends/ parents/ youthworkers to be around to support her without prying or making her revisit issues she doesn’t want to. And sometimes the best way to help someone heal is to draw her out of that cycle of self-loathing by letting them vent and moving on, or by putting yourself in a more fun and inviting environment. Sometimes the best medicine is to just be able to get away and laugh with friends for a few hours, away from whatever issue one might be struggling with.
that was indeed a very interesting study. i would agree in the most part with it. we have a culture of that as the above says sometimes wallows in our problems. i think its very healthy and a great break through when teenagers are able to share their problems and issues with others…but as i read this i thought of something that has even got me over the past 6 months. i have moved to Northern Ireland to do you ministry and i am really struggling right now with all of the problems and issues i am having and not having a group or close nit structure to vent to. i say that to say that i think we can sometimes hurt ourselves when we spill the beans on everything because when we are with out those people we don’t have our group to spill those beans to..it can way on us and cause a repression/depression. where is that fine line of community trial sharing and just being nosy?
I’m beginning to hate research
Just like any research, we all have to be cautious about the supposed results. The author of the research (an assistant professor — not a full professor) jumps to the conclusion that too much talk can be a bad thing. That may be. But, what were the parameters of her research? How many of those surveyed had previous depressive episodes? Who were these girls talking to — their parents, friends and/or youth pastors? Did who they spoke to make a difference? The article implies that those involved in the research talked to their friends. Those of us in youth ministry know what that can mean — each friend trying to “one-up” each other in the “who feels the worst” catagory! I guess what I would advise is that we put this article into perspective. We all know that there is such a thing as too much talk (a.k.a. wallowing). However, let’s don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Those in youth ministry know the value of listening to young people in a way that reflects the love of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we might be the only light they have and the only one who shows them the true Light. So, I say, keep listening.