Rebecca Schwartz-Mette

Associate ProfessorRebecca Schwartz-Mette
360 Williams Hall

UMaine Peer Relations Lab 

Research Interests

My program of research in developmental psychopathology focuses on the intersection of psychopathology and peer relationships in childhood and adolescence. I am particularly interested in the ways in which psychological problems (e.g., depression, anxiety) and health-risk behaviors (e.g., self-injury) impact the important context of youths’ friendships and vice versa.

Well-functioning friendships typically offer youth socioemotional benefits. Ironically, however, youth with emotional adjustment problems may experience friendship difficulties that exacerbate their symptoms over time. Additionally, youths’ symptoms may pose a risk for the emotional adjustment of their friends, as having a distressed friend can lead to increases in own symptoms over time.

My work has two main aims: 1) to consider how youths’ internalizing symptoms negatively affect their friendships, 2) to consider how youths’ internalizing symptoms negatively affect the emotional adjustment of their friends (i.e., contagion/socialization processes). This research is grounded in interpersonal theories of depression and is primarily observational in nature. In considering the interplay between psychopathology and friendship, I have focused specifically on friends’ conversations with one another. My work seeks to identify particular intrapersonal characteristics and interpersonal behaviors typical of distressed youth and their friends that may help to explain the depression-rejection cycle, as well as contagion processes within friendships. A broader goal of this research is to inform prevention and intervention efforts that support the socioemotional health of youth and their friends.

Selected Publications

Schwartz-Mette, R. A., & Rose, A. J. (in press). Depressive symptoms and conversational self-focus in adolescent friendships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

Rose, A. J., Schwartz-Mette, R. A., Smith, R. L., Glick, G. C., & Luebbe, A. (2014). An observational study of co-rumination in adolescent friendships. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2199-2209.

Schwartz-Mette, R. A., & Rose, A. J. (2012). Co-rumination mediates contagion of internalizing symptoms within youths’ friendships. Developmental Psychology, 48, 1355-1365.

Schwartz-Mette, R. A., & Rose, A. J. (2009). Conversational self-focus in adolescent friendships: Observational assessment of an interpersonal process and relations with internalizing symptoms and friendship quality. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 28, 1263-1297.