Links between Rejection Sensitivity and Adolescent Romantic Relationship Functioning: The Mediating Role of Problem-Solving Behaviors
In this study, the authors examined links between rejection sensitivity and both relationship satisfaction and perpetration of aggression in adolescent romantic couples. The sample consisted of 93 heterosexual couples, 15-18 years of age, who had dated exclusively for at least one month. Using a video recall procedure, couple members' ratings of their own and their partners' behaviors during a problem-solving task were hypothesized to mediate links between rejection sensitivity and maladaptive relationship outcomes. Rejection sensitivity scores were related to higher levels of aggression and lower relationship satisfaction, and associations were mediated by couple members' ratings of conflict, sarcasm, and giving in during the interaction. Findings are consistent with the rejection sensitivity model, which posits that rejection-sensitive individuals interpret their interactions more negatively, and those negative interpretations lead them to behave in ways that compromise the quality of their close relationships. Modified Author Abstract.