Get access

Rejection Sensitivity and Vulnerability to Self-Directed Hostile Cognitions Following Rejection

Authors

  • Juliana G. Breines,

    Corresponding author
    1. Brandeis University
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Juliana G. Breines, Department of Psychology, MS 062, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453-2728. Email: jbreines@brandeis.edu. Ozlem Ayduk, Department of Psychology, 3411 Tolman Hall, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650. Email: ayduk@berkeley.edu.

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ozlem Ayduk

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Berkeley
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Juliana G. Breines, Department of Psychology, MS 062, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453-2728. Email: jbreines@brandeis.edu. Ozlem Ayduk, Department of Psychology, 3411 Tolman Hall, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650. Email: ayduk@berkeley.edu.

    Search for more papers by this author

  • We would like to thank the members of the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, for their comments. We would also like to thank Adam Gordon, Alice Hua, Bernie Wong, Chellsee Hill, Christine Lui, Gwen Bassett, Elizabeth Hopper, Henry Tu, Jillia Fongheiser, Joseph Orlich III, Julie Dinh, Linzi Nelson, Maia Menschik, Mehrnaz Ahrar, Miren Edelstein, Nyx Robey, Princess Lim, Sarenna Shaw, and Stephanie Catahan for assistance with data collection.

Abstract

We examined the hypothesis that rejection increases self-directed hostile cognitions in individuals who are high in rejection sensitivity (RS). In four studies employing primarily undergraduate samples (Ns = 83–121), rejection was primed subliminally or through a recall task, and self-directed hostile cognitions were assessed using explicit or implicit measures. Negative or neutral control conditions were used in three of the studies. Measures of RS were obtained in pretesting. High RS participants were more likely than low RS participants to report or show greater self-directed hostile cognitions in rejection conditions, compared to control conditions. Results held when controlling for depressive symptoms, history of self-directed hostile cognitions, and general hostility. RS may represent a unique vulnerability for self-directed hostile cognitions, a predictor of self-harmful behavior.

Ancillary