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Title: Social hypersensitivity injures self-esteem and perceived rejection following ambiguous social feedback
Authors: Yang, Kaite
Advisors: Girgus, Joan S
Contributors: Psychology Department
Keywords: Depression
Subjects: Social psychology
Personality psychology
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Ambiguous feedback may be a pervasive and unavoidable part of everyday social interactions. One form of ambiguous feedback, an awkward pause in a conversation, can be uncomfortable (Koudenburg, Postmes & Gordijn, 2011), but the reactions of socially hypersensitive people (i.e., self-esteem contingent on maintaining positive relationships) to ambiguous feedback may go beyond discomfort to injury to their self-esteem and sense of belonging. In Experiment 1, more socially hypersensitive individuals reported lower self-esteem and higher perceived rejection after reading a conversation script in which they imagined an awkward pause after they made a controversial statement. Social hypersensitivity did not moderate self-esteem and perceived rejection when the conversation flowed without an awkward pause after the same controversial statement. In Experiment 2, social hypersensitivity was negatively correlated with self-esteem when participants imagined a conversation with a controversial statement followed by different forms of awkward pauses, explicit ambiguous feedback, or explicit negative feedback. Social hypersensitivity was linked to increased perceived rejection only in the pause conditions. Experiment 3 replicated the findings for the awkward pause, explicit ambiguous feedback, and explicit negative feedback conditions in reaction to controversial statements. However, Experiment 3 also highlighted that the interpretation and subsequent response to a pause depends on the context in which the feedback is given. Collectively, this research suggests that more socially hypersensitive individuals, compared to less socially hypersensitive individuals, require explicit positive feedback to maintain self-esteem and react negatively to ambiguous social feedback. These experiments have implications for how social hypersensitivity leads to vulnerability for depression (Girgus & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2006).
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology

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