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Child Maltreat. 2000 Nov;5(4):338-49.

Rejection sensitivity and adolescent girls' vulnerability to relationship-centered difficulties.

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Stanford University, USA.


Rejection sensitivity (RS)--the disposition to defensively expect, readily perceive, and intensely react to rejection--is a potential source of vulnerability for adolescent girls' relationship difficulties. RS is thought to develop from rejection experiences, including maltreatment. When adolescent girls enter romantic relationships, RS may prompt vigilance for rejection cues and reactions to perceived rejection that are maladaptive, including hostility. To preserve their romantic relationships, high RS girls may behave in ways that increase their risk of victimization or other negative outcomes. These claims were tested with longitudinal data from 154 minority, economically disadvantaged, middle school girls. RS prospectively predicted insecurity about a boyfriend's commitment and also a willingness to do things known to be wrong to maintain the relationship. RS predicted more physical aggression and nonphysical hostility during romantic conflicts. Implications for a relationship-centered approach to adolescent girls' characteristic vulnerabilities are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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