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Title: Social sharing of emotions on individual, dyadic, and group levels
Author: van der Löwe, Ilmo K.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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People turn to others for help and advice during hard times. Early psychologists suggested a ‘talking cure’ as a remedy for emotional turmoil (e.g., Freud, 1916–7/1963; Rogers, 1942). Likewise, folk psychology often sees heart-to-heart conversations as a win-win proposition that brings relief to the afflicted person and reinforces social bonds at the time of need. However, talking about problems does not always help (e.g., Rimé, 2009; Rimé, Mesquita, Boca, & Philppot, 1991; Rimé, Philippot, Boca, & Mesquita, 1992; Rose, 2002). In some cases, problem-talk can be a lose-lose proposition that drags both discussants into depression (Rose, 2002; Rose, Carlson, & Waller, 2007). This thesis examines co-rumination (Rose, 2002), a case of emotional sharing that hurts people instead of helping them, on three levels of analysis (individuals, dyads, and groups). At the individual level, I sketch the life course of co-rumination and replicate earlier findings of gender differences. Furthermore, online survey data (N = 464) links co-rumination with agreeableness and neuroticism. I also demonstrate that co-rumination can be assessed with a brief measure that is 66% shorter than the original. At the dyadic level, data from recorded conversations between romantic couples show that face-to-face co-rumination influences people’s real-time emotional trajectories in complex ways. Furthermore, observer-ratings of the conversations suggest that third-parties can detect co-rumination, even from silent videos. Finally, I study how people react to others’ negative mood and co-rumination in a real social context by longitudinally following two cohorts of students and modelling their interactions with social network analysis tools. These models show that co-rumination appears to elicit social rejection from others, implying a possible pathway to depression via loneliness imposed on the co-ruminators.
Supervisor: Parkinson, Brian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Emotion ; Experimental psychology ; Interpersonal behaviour ; Social psychology ; social sharing ; social networks ; co-rumination