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A longitudinal model of rejection sensitivity and internalizing symptoms: Testing emotion regulation deficits as a mechanism and outcome of symptoms

Gardner, A.A., Zimmer‐Gembeck, M.J. and Modecki, K.L. (2020) A longitudinal model of rejection sensitivity and internalizing symptoms: Testing emotion regulation deficits as a mechanism and outcome of symptoms. Journal of Personality . Early View.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12549
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Abstract

Objective
Individuals who experience heightened rejection sensitivity (RS) are at greater risk of increased internalizing symptoms over time. This is especially so for adolescents and young adults, as this is a time of many social transitions and an average increase in such symptoms. Yet, little longitudinal research has explored specific mechanisms that may help explain how RS lends itself to increased symptomology during adolescence and young adulthood. In this study, we tested the summative effect of emotion dysregulation, expressive suppression, and social avoidance (i.e., ER‐deficits) as mechanisms. Moreover, we estimated bidirectional temporal associations between ER‐deficits and symptoms.

Method
Participants included 402 adolescents and young adults aged 17 to 27 years (M = 19.9 years, 66% female) who completed two assessments over a 1‐year period.

Results
In a path model, participants who reported more RS increased in anxious symptoms, and RS was indirectly associated with increased anxious and depressive symptoms via the three ER‐deficits. Additionally, cross‐lagged panel analyses showed that dysregulation and suppression predicted increased symptoms over time, while anxious symptoms predicted increased social avoidance over time.

Conclusion
These findings expand understanding of the role of RS in young people's increasing internalizing symptoms, implicating ER‐deficits in these processes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/55836
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