Determinants of excessive reassurance-seeking: Adolescents' internalized distress, friendship conflict, and inhibitory control as prospective predictors

Matthew G. Clayton, Matteo Giletta, Charlotte A. Boettiger, Mitchell J. Prinstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Substantial research suggests that excessive reassurance-seeking behavior is associated with exacerbations in depressive symptoms and later interpersonal rejection, yet remarkably few studies have examined predictors of this maladaptive social behavior. This study proposed and examined a diathesis stress model suggesting that beyond the effects of prior internalized distress, a combination of poor inhibitory control and dyadic friendship conflict may be especially relevant predictors of adolescents' excessive reassurance-seeking behavior. Longitudinal associations were examined in a sample of 865 adolescents (54.5% female, 22.2% African American, 23.1% Latinx) who completed self-reported measures of depressive rumination/intrusive thoughts, depressive symptoms, loneliness, friendship conflict, and a performance-based measure of inhibitory control at baseline, as well as a measure of excessive reassurance-seeking at baseline and 2 years later. Results initially revealed a prospective effect of depressive rumination/intrusive thoughts on later excessive reassurance-seeking, consistent with prior work. Final results yielded only a significant interaction effect, revealing that higher levels of friendship conflict coupled with low levels of inhibitory control were associated longitudinally with higher levels of excessive reassurance-seeking. Findings suggest that inhibitory control may moderate the association between adolescents' interpersonal conflict and their excessive reassurance-seeking.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

Keywords

  • NEGATIVE FEEDBACK-SEEKING
  • DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
  • EXECUTIVE FUNCTION
  • GENDER-DIFFERENCES
  • PEER RELATIONS
  • STRESS
  • CHILDREN
  • QUESTIONNAIRE
  • ASSOCIATIONS
  • PERSPECTIVE

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