Interpersonal reactions to dysphoria: The role of relationship with partner and perceptions of rejection

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34 Scopus citations


Coyne'S interactional perspective on depression states that depressed people induce a negative mood in others and thus elicit rejection from them. Research relevant to these hypotheses has been criticized for heavy reliance on interactions between depressed persons and strangers for gathering data. A second shortcoming of this research is that relatively little is known about depressed persons’ perceptions of the rejection that they supposedly elicit from others. To address these two issues a study was conducted in which 74 non-dysphoric and 67 dysphoric subjects engaged in an 8-minute conversation with either a friend or stranger. Partners’ mood and rejection of the dysphoric or non-dysphoric subject were assessed. In addition, subjects reported their perceptions of how much they felt their partner rejected them. Relationship with the partner (friend/stranger) had an impact on both the negative mood induction and rejection of subjects following conversation. In addition, all subjects, dysphoric or not, appeared relatively accurate in their perceptions of rejection from their partner, although dysphoric subjects exhibited a slight tendency to feel more rejected than non-dysphoric subjects. Implications for re-evaluating past research and conducting future research on the interactional theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-97
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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