New research has emerged that suggests sharing negative thoughts may predict depression risk in female adolescents. You can read more about that study here.

On first blush, this is a dream study for those who see talk therapy, or perhaps even talk in general, as a waste of time. Many see shrinks as complete hacks who use the process of talk to simply exploit people out of their time and money. And while talk therapy certainly doesn't work for everyone, its track record is more than respectable. And a conversation between two 13 year-old girls certainly doesn't constitute therapy. But why would sharing negative thoughts predict depression? A few ideas come to mind.

This age group is prime for depression to take hold. And sometimes talking about problems can, in fact, increase the distress a person is feeling, at least initially. I often discuss with my clients the inherent risks in "stirring the pot" so that they aren't discouraged if the initial sessions lead to increased depression. The early stages of sorting through problems can often cause an increase in psychological pain.

As the researchers point out, girls at that age may need help in developing adaptive forms of self-disclosure. In other words, many of these girls may not know how to ask for what they need. Whether it be empathy, problem-solving assistance, flat-out advice or perhaps some combination thereof, this age group may not be well-equipped to be great talkers (i.e., those who know what to say and to whom so that their needs are met).

Finally, adolescent females aren't considered the most supportive demographic in society. At the risk of painting with too broad a brush, many young girls are more prone to gossip and indirect forms of aggressive, such as verbal bullying or talking about peers behind their backs. What the study doesn't address is how the information shared was actually used, if at all. In other words, the listeners may have a role in the outcome for the discloser.

Does this mean that more adolescent girls should be in therapy? Maybe, but let's not get too far ahead. What's important here is learning more about what these girls are sharing, how they are sharing it, and to whom. Additionally, how they feel after they share, both immediately and delayed, is important so that we can assess if the girls are getting what they need from their disclosure. That will help us decrease the risk of depression seen in the study.