Sometimes it can be better to just zip your lips when it comes to personal problems.
Among girls aged eight to 14, for example, those who dwell on personal concerns with friends - such as whether a particular boy likes them - are likely to be anxious and depressed, according to a study in the journal, Developmental Psychology.
In a study of more than 800 pre-teen students, girls and boys who rehashed problems and focused on negative feelings developed close friendships with co-complainers. But the girls (not the boys) ended up depressed and anxious, which led to more angst-y chatter - an endless cycle.
'They're spending such a high percentage of time dwelling on problems that it probably makes them feel sad and hopeless,' psychological sciences Professor Amanda Rose of the University of Missouri-Columbia, lead researcher of the study, said in a Los Angeles Times report.
'And it makes them feel even more worried about the problems and their consequences.'
Boys can talk about concerns with friends but they spend less time ruminating, and probably glide away without feeling worse.
Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to focus on the same problem repeatedly. The girls in the study encouraged each other to talk about negative events and feelings and to speculate on consequences.
'Some kids, especially girls, are taking talking about problems to an extreme,' Prof Rose said.
'In general, talking is healthy. However, co-rumination represents too much of a good thing.'
This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times on Aug 14, 2008.