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Emotional Responses to a Romantic Partner's Imaginary Rejection: The Roles of Attachment Anxiety, Covert Narcissism, and Self-Evaluation


  • We acknowledge all of the research assistants and blind judges from Sapir Academic College and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev for their invaluable assistance with the data collection. Grateful thanks are extended to all the participants in this study. Finally, we thank Dr. Christopher Leone and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions.

concerning this article should be addressed to Avi Besser, Ph.D., Department of Behavioral Sciences, Sapir Academic College, D. N. Hof Ashkelon, 79165, Israel. E-mail:


ABSTRACT These studies tested the associations between responses to an induced imaginary romantic rejection and individual differences on dimensions of attachment and covert narcissism. In Study 1 (N=125), we examined the associations between attachment dimensions and emotional responses to a vignette depicting a scenario of romantic rejection, as measured by self-reported negative mood states, expressions of anger, somatic symptoms, and self-evaluation. Higher scores on attachment anxiety, but not on attachment avoidance, were associated with stronger reactions to the induced rejection. Moreover, decreased self-evaluation scores (self-esteem and pride) were found to mediate these associations. In Study 2 (N=88), the relative contributions of covert narcissism and attachment anxiety to the emotional responses to romantic rejection were explored. Higher scores on covert narcissism were associated with stronger reactions to the induced rejection. Moreover, covert narcissism seemed to constitute a specific aspect of attachment anxiety.