Honors Students' Abstracts
The interactive effects of attachment style and rejection on cognition, emotion regulation and physiology
Kristen Trudo, Laura Fryer
Anyone who has ever experienced rejection knows that it is a poignant and painful experience. It leaves us feeling unwanted and unworthy and threatens our confidence in our desirability as a relationship partner. Although rejection is clearly a normatively distressing experience there is much variability in people’s responses to rejection. Whereas one individual may respond to rejection with a mild and fleeting sense of disappointment, another individual may respond to the same rejection with a much greater sense of devastation and dejection. What makes some individuals more vulnerable to the negative effects of rejection? The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of attachment style as a moderator of the relationship between rejection and emotion regulation, cognitive responses, and physiological responses. We expect that those with a secure attachment style (ie., those are who confident in others’ regard for them) will cope in a more adaptive way with rejection and conversely we expect that that those with an insecure attachment style (ie., those lack confidence in others’ regard for them and who feel unworthy of love) will cope in a more adaptive way with rejection. To investigate the effects of attachment style on responses to rejection we conducted a laboratory study where attachment style was measured, rejection was manipulated (by giving participants mildly rejecting feedback in the context of a laboratory task) and cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses were measured (as listed above). In our poster we will present findings outlining the different patterns of responses displayed by secure versus insecure individuals in response to rejection.