Ashley E. Mason, Rita W. Law, Amanda E. B. Bryan, and David A. Sbarra, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona; Robert M. Portley, University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Facing a breakup: Electromyographic responses moderate self-concept recovery following a romantic separation
Version of Record online: 1 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 IARR
Volume 19, Issue 3, pages 551–568, September 2012
How to Cite
MASON, A. E., LAW, R. W., BRYAN, A. E. B., PORTLEY, R. M. and SBARRA, D. A. (2012), Facing a breakup: Electromyographic responses moderate self-concept recovery following a romantic separation. Personal Relationships, 19: 551–568. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2011.01378.x
This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (BCS #0919525) to D.A.S. and also by a graduate research grant from the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute at The University of Arizona to R.W.L. The authors are grateful to John J. B. Allen and David Lozano for technical assistance with the electromyography data collection.
- Issue online: 5 SEP 2012
- Version of Record online: 1 AUG 2011
Romantic breakups arouse fundamental questions about the self: Who am I without my partner? This study examined self-concept reorganization and psychological well-being over an 8-week period in the months following a breakup. Multilevel analyses revealed that poorer self-concept recovery preceded poorer well-being and was associated with love for an ex-partner, suggesting that failure to redefine the self contributes to post-breakup distress. Psychophysiological data revealed that greater activity in the corrugator supercilia facial muscle while thinking about an ex-partner predicted poorer self-concept recovery and strengthened the negative association between love for an ex-partner and self-concept recovery. Thus, the interaction between self-report and psychophysiological data provided information about the importance of self-concept recovery to post-breakup adjustment not tapped by either method alone.