Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
People high in rejection sensitivity (RS) anxiously expect rejection and are at risk for interpersonal and personal distress. Two studies examined the role of self-regulation through strategic attention deployment in moderating the link between RS and maladaptive outcomes. Self-regulation was assessed by the delay of gratification (DG) paradigm in childhood. In Study 1, preschoolers from the Stanford University community who participated in the DG paradigm were assessed 20 years later. Study 2 assessed low-income, minority middle school children on comparable measures. DG ability buffered high-RS people from interpersonal difficulties (aggression, peer rejection) and diminished well-being (e.g., low self-worth, higher drug use). The protective effect of DG ability on high-RS children's self-worth is explained by reduced interpersonal problems. Attentional mechanisms underlying the interaction between RS and strategic self-regulation are discussed.
Ayduk, Ozlem; Mendoza-Denton, Rodolfo; Mischel, Walter; Downey, Geraldine; Peake, Philip K.; and Rodriguez, Monica, "Regulating the Interpersonal Self: Strategic Self-Regulation for Coping with Rejection Sensitivity" (2000). Psychology: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.