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Growth in Narratives of Romantic Rejection: Differences in Self-Esteem and Implicit Theories

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Title: Growth in Narratives of Romantic Rejection: Differences in Self-Esteem and Implicit Theories
Author: Benson, Jennifer
Advisor: Lilgendahl, Jennifer L.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Psychology
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 5015425 bytes598586 bytes
Issue Date: 2008
Abstract: Our study explores the individual, interactive, and additive effects of self-esteem and implicit theory on narrative processing of romantic rejection. In Study 1, participants completed questionnaires including measures of self-esteem and implicit theory, afterwards providing a narrative of romantic rejection. Results indicated that entity theorists showed more blame for their rejecter's behavior and more optimistic future perspectives than incremental theorists, participants higher in self-esteem showed more blame for the rejecter and more optimistic future perspectives than those low in self-esteem, and interaction effects were found for the positivity of self-views in the past, the degree to which self-views had increased, and levels of self-enhancement. In Study 2, participants completed the same questionnaire without the implicit theory measure, were primed with either an entity theorist or incremental theorist mindset, and then completed the same narrative prompt. Those in the entity theorist condition showed more defensiveness and other blame than those in the incremental theorist condition, while those high in self-esteem showed more intense and persistent negative affect, more self-enhancement, more optimistic outlooks, and more positive shifts in self-views than those with low self-esteem. Results from both studies together suggest that the entity theorist mindset is tied to more defensive responses to rejection in terms of attribution and behavioral responses, while self-esteem predicts both emotions and meaning assigned to the event, and both variables together affected the meaning assigned to the event as well as the likelihood of growing from it. Results thus attest to the importance of considering implicit theory and self-esteem both individually and in interaction in predicting the healthiness of narratives of romantic rejection.
Subject: Rejection (Psychology)
Subject: Self-esteem
Subject: Implicit learning
Subject: Interpersonal relations -- Psychological aspects
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Benson, Jennifer. "Growth in Narratives of Romantic Rejection: Differences in Self-Esteem and Implicit Theories". 2008. Available electronically from

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