16. Social Allergens

  1. Leonard M. Horowitz PhD2 and
  2. Stephen Strack PhD3
  1. Brian P. O'Connor PhD

Published Online: 16 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118001868.ch16

Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology: Theory, Research, Assessment, and Therapeutic Interventions

Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology: Theory, Research, Assessment, and Therapeutic Interventions

How to Cite

O'Connor, B. P. (2010) Social Allergens, in Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology: Theory, Research, Assessment, and Therapeutic Interventions (eds L. M. Horowitz and S. Strack), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118001868.ch16

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

  2. 3

    Psychology Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Psychology, Barber School of Arts and Sciences, University of British Columbia-, Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 22 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470471609

Online ISBN: 9781118001868

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Keywords:

  • social allergens;
  • relationships;
  • annoyance;
  • interpersonal theory;
  • five-factor model

Summary

Social allergens are behaviors or characteristics of others that generate strong, negative experiences in us. As with physical allergens, initial exposures may prompt only mild and slow-developing aversive reactions, whereas repeated exposures can elicit immediate and intensely uncomfortable emotions. Social allergens are pervasive and harmful to relationships. Persons who display them are less liked; relationships with such persons are experienced as less positive and stable; and the intensity of social allergens is associated with relationship dissolutions. Social allergens can be found in all regions of the interpersonal circle, and they are associated with greater vector lengths on the interpersonal circle and in the five-factor model space. Research on social allergens has provided empirical support for guiding assumptions in interpersonal theory.