Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kenji Noguchi, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Prior research on social rejection has found that people with high self-esteem tend to cope better with social rejection. However, there is still not a complete understanding as to why they tend to cope better with rejection. Some research has found that persons with high self-esteem think about rejection differently than persons with low self-esteem which results in a better ability to cope. This thesis further examines the relationship between self-esteem and social rejection. Specifically this thesis examines how different thought being used by persons with high or low self-esteem may affect their reactions to social rejection. Based on prior research on social rejection and mental simulations, it was hypothesized that persons with high self-esteem would use more downward simulations than persons with low self-esteem. According to this hypothesis, the use of downward simulations would result in a more positive mood after thinking about a past event of social rejection; the hypothesis was not supported by the results. Participants in the rejection condition with HSE tended to create more upward simulations than downward simulations, which is the opposite of what was hypothesized. Many of the analysis conducted were not statistically significant. The direction of simulation was not related to self-esteem, condition, or the interaction of self-esteem and condition. There was no relationship between implicit mood, positive or negative, and self-esteem, condition or the interaction of self-esteem and condition. However, explicit mood was found to be significantly related to self-esteem.

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