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Teen Girls Who Ruminate Experience Heightened Rejection Sensitivity: New Study

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March 14, 2024Teenage girls who often ruminate exhibit patterns of brain activity different from their non-ruminative peers after encountering social rejection, according to new research published in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.1 Increased activity was seen in the parts of the brain involved in developing self-concept, which researchers say suggests that ruminative teens internalize social rejection and integrate it into their view of themselves.“Everyone experiences rejection, but not everyone experiences it in the same way,” explained Amanda Guyer, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors and associate director of the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California at Davis. “Our results suggest that girls who tend to ruminate are experiencing more than just momentary sadness after rejection.

They are deeply internalizing this negative feedback into their self-concept.”The study, conducted by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, involved 116 female participants, aged 16 to 19, who were asked to self-report their tendency to ruminate, defined by the study’s authors as engaging in repetitive, negative thought patterns.

The participants were also asked to perform two tasks related to social selection. In their initial visit, participants viewed photos of 60 teens, and were prompted to select 30 they’d like to talk to online.

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