Adding insult to injury: effects of interpersonal rejection types, rejection sensitivity, and self-regulation on obsessive relational intrusion

Department of Psychology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi, USA.
Aggressive Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.27). 11/2011; 37(6):503-20. DOI: 10.1002/ab.20412
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study tested the I(3) model [Finkel, 2007; 2008] of intimate partner violence as applied to obsessive relational intrusion (ORI) to assess the relation among self-regulation, rejection, rejection sensitivity (RS), and stalking-related aggression. In Study 1, participants (N=221) read one of three vignettes: no relationship termination, an "internal" rejection (involves an internal attribution to the rejected as cause of relationship ending), or an "external" rejection (external attributions for relationship demise). Next, participants experienced one of two conditions manipulating self-regulation (no depletion vs. depletion). Finally, participants rated their likelihood of engaging in ORI (e.g. unwanted pursuit and/or aggression). Consistent with predictions, participants receiving an internal rejection reported higher aggression than participants experiencing an external rejection, especially when depleted of self-regulation. Study 2 extended the design of Study 1 by adding in a screening survey of RS. Internal rejections still yielded more aggression than other conditions, but this was especially so when rejection-sensitive persons were depleted of self-regulation. In addition to providing support for the I(3) model of aggression, this research shows that not all types of rejection are created equal.

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May 19, 2014