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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Apr;76(2):306-17. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.76.2.306.

Extension of the rejection sensitivity construct to the interpersonal functioning of gay men.

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Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500, USA.


On the basis of recent evidence suggesting that gay men are particularly likely to fear interpersonal rejection, the authors set out to extend the rejection sensitivity construct to the mental health concerns of gay men. After establishing a reliable and valid measure of the gay-related rejection sensitivity construct, the authors use this to test the mediating effect of internalized homophobia on the relationship between parental rejection of one's sexual orientation and sensitivity to future gay-related rejection. The present data support this mediational model and also establish rejection sensitivity's unique contribution to unassertive interpersonal behavior in the context of internalized homophobia and parental rejection. The authors conclude that gay-related rejection sensitivity is a useful construct for clinicians working with gay men given the impact that past gay-related rejection can have on their gay clients' present cognitive-affective-behavioral functioning. The authors discuss the possibility of revising rejection-prone schemas in clinical work with gay men. Future research is necessary to further examine the internal processing and interpersonal functioning of gay men by using existing constructs (or modifications of them) that are likely to be particularly relevant to the unique concerns of this population.

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