Does Brooding Rumination Moderate the Stress to Depression Relationship Similarly for Chinese and New Zealand Adolescents?

Paul E. Jose, Kerstin Kramar, Yubo Hou


The present cross-sectional, cross-national study was conducted to determine whether adolescents in China and New Zealand use brooding rumination to respond to stress similarly or differently. Self-reported everyday stress intensity, brooding rumination, and depressive symptoms were compared between 1624 New Zealand (NZ) and 914 Chinese early adolescents, aged 10-15 years of age. Chinese adolescents reported higher levels of brooding rumination and depression than NZ youth, and females reported higher levels of both variables than males as well. In contrast, NZ adolescents reported higher overall everyday stress intensity compared to Chinese adolescents. An examination at the stress item level showed that Chinese adolescents reported higher stress intensity for issues such as low grades and lack of free time, whereas NZ adolescents were more concerned with physical appearance and conflict with family members. Examination of the moderation hypothesis showed that brooding rumination was found to exacerbate the stress to depression relationship for younger (10-13 yrs) NZ adolescents and older (14-15 yrs) Chinese adolescents, and to a lesser extent older (14-15 yrs) NZ adolescents. Thus, it seems that this exacerbating dynamic occurred at an earlier age in New Zealand than in China. In addition, gender moderated this exacerbation relationship in that females of both countries exhibited the relationship, but males of both countries did not. Females, compared to males, and Chinese adolescents, compared to New Zealand adolescents, may report higher brooding rumination due to their stronger collectivist orientation in interpersonal relationships.

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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