The long arm of rejection sensitivity and young adults' romantic relationships: An extension and a replication

Shmuel Shulman, Refael Yonatan-Leus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: In an earlier study, we followed adolescents from age 16 to 23, examining the effect of rejection sensitivity (RS) on the quality of future romantic relationships. Findings showed that RS decreased over time, and the decrease associated with a higher quality of future romantic relationships. In contrast, the effect of the earlier level of RS on the quality of future romantic relationships was minor. Methods: Extending the earlier study, these 101 Israeli young adults (69 females, mean age = 22.79) were followed again from age 23 to 28. At age 28, the level of RS was assessed again. In addition, participants reported about the quality of their current or most recent romantic relationship. Results: Contrary to the earlier study, findings of the current study show that the earlier higher level of RS at age 23 was associated with a higher likelihood of maintaining distance and self concealing from one's partner, feeling less certain, and reporting greater tension in future relationships. In contrast, the effect of change in RS between ages 23 and 28 on future relationships was minimal. Conclusions: Integrating the findings of the current and earlier studies underscores the role of earlier RS and its change over time during different developmental periods. RS decreases during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and this decrease associates with a future higher quality of romantic relationships. In contrast, during the latter 20s RS stabilizes, and therefore, its earlier level associates with future romantic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume96
Issue number1
Early online date26 Oct 2023
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Adolescence published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Foundation for Professionals in Services to Adolescents.

Keywords

  • adolescent relationships: romantic relationships
  • adolescent relationships: sexual
  • adolescent relationships: transitions

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