Stress Response to Peer Conflict: Examining Mechanisms of Emotion Regulation and Social Buffering



Francis, Brianna

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Previous research addressing social networks and interactions has had a large focus on positive interactions, while fewer studies have examined the harmful impacts of negative social interactions on psychological well-being. This thesis examines the role of peer conflict networks, social support, and rumination/co-rumination as predictors of cortisol levels and perceived stress response in a collegiate marching band context. The sample consisted of member of a collegiate marching band (n = 193; 52% female; mean age = 19.4 years). The role of rumination and co-rumination were explored as possible mediators connecting peer conflict to stress, with social support and friendship networks acting as potential moderators of these associations. Results revealed rumination, but not co-rumination, as a significant mechanism linking peer conflict to perceived stress levels. Additionally, the moderated mediation model revealed a moderation effect of friendship network density on the mediational effect of rumination on the association between conflict network size and perceived stress levels. The findings suggest that rumination and friendship network density are playing a role in worsening the association between peer conflict and perceived stress. The present study advances research by jointly evaluating the role of emotion regulation and social buffering in explaining and qualifying the associations between conflict network size and perceived and physiological measures of stress.



Stress, Social support, Rumination, Peer conflict, Friendship networks