Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


We Can Tell Each Other Anything, but Maybe We Shouldn’t: Co-Rumination in Latinx Parent-Child Dyads

Event Title

2019 NLPA (National Latinx Psychological Association) Conference: Nuestra Lucha Continúa

Event Location

Miami, Florida, USA

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Presentation Date


Date Range

2019-10-17 to 2019-10-20


Parental support and ease of communication with parents are major protective factors for youth (Latina et al., 2015). However, the content and types of communicative interactions between parents and children are critical factors that may alter the clinical picture. Co-rumination is a form of communication that focuses on problems and negative affect in dyadic discussions (Rose, 2002). Originally studied in friendships, there is a growing literature on parent-child co-rumination. Co-rumination has been characterized as a “double-edged sword” (Felton et al., 2018) because although co-ruminating with others leads to closer, higher-quality relationships, it also increases internalizing symptoms and negative relationship qualities (e.g., enmeshment; Waller & Rose, 2010).

Despite the growing research-base, there are few studies examining co-rumination through a cultural lens. Considering the relevance of collectivism, simpatia, and familismo to Latinx families, parent-child co-rumination appears to be particularly relevant. Studying discussions between parents and children in Latinx families has suggested that parents model anxiety to their children (Varela et al., 2013). Therefore, parents probably heavily influence children. The questions specific to parent-child co-rumination relate to its adjustment trade-offs (What are the pros and cons of co-ruminating?) and whose problems are being discussed: the parent’s or the child’s?

In this study, 42 parents of children aged 5-17 from a clinical sample completed questionnaires assessing parent-child co-rumination, parent immigration stress, child internalizing symptoms, and family conflict. Results showed that when the focus of co-rumination was on the child’s problems, only the parent’s level of immigration stress was concurrently affected. Conversely, parent-focused co-rumination was positively associated with child anxiety, child depression, and parent immigration stress, but also low levels of family conflict. The results suggest that co-rumination’s adjustment trade-offs also exist in Latinx families, and that focusing on the parent’s problems is particularly detrimental to both the parent and child.