Adolescent vulnerability and the distress of rejection: Associations of adjustment problems and gender with control, emotions, and coping
We examined adjustment problems as risks for patterns of emotions, appraisals, and coping with rejection, and explored whether these processes could account for sex (boy/girl) differences in coping. Young adolescents (N = 669, grades 6–8) completed questionnaires, which assessed responses to peer rejection threat with two short scenarios. Using structural equation modeling to test a multivariate process model, adolescents with heightened social anxiety had the most maladaptive responses to rejection threat, including elevated emotional reactions, more self-blame, and coping using more social isolation, rumination and opposition. Adolescents reporting more depressive symptoms felt less control and anticipated using less adaptive coping (less support seeking, distraction, and negotiation), whereas aggressive adolescents responded with more anger and coped via opposition. Moreover, as anticipated, sex differences in coping, symptoms, emotions, and appraisals were found. However, coping differences between boys and girls were mostly nonsignificant after accounting for symptoms, aggression, emotional reactions, and appraisals.
Journal of Adolescence
Developmental Psychology and Ageing