Rejection Sensitivity and Relationship Satisfaction in Dating Relationships: The Mediating Role of Differentiation of Self

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The present study sought to explore the relationship between rejection sensitivity, differentiation of self, and relationship satisfaction in a sample of emerging adults who were in a dating relationship (N = 217, 77.7% female). Results showed that rejection sensitivity was negatively associated with relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, total differentiation of self mediated the relationship between rejection sensitivity and relationship satisfaction. Moreover, in examining the potential mediating effects of the 4 subcomponents of differentiation of self, 1 subcomponent, emotional cutoff, also mediated this relationship. Findings suggest that rejection sensitivity might lead individuals to emotionally and behaviorally distance themselves from their romantic partners, thus reducing opportunities for both rejecting and accepting experiences, leading to lowered relationship satisfaction. Implications for research and applied work are discussed.

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