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Grounded in interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory (IPARTheory), this exploratory study investigated a) major characteristics of affective copers and non-copers, b) the effects of acceptance by one parent insofar as it moderates rejection by the other parent, and c) the mediation effect of intimate partner relationships on the relation between remembered parental rejection and adults’ current psychological adjustment. The theory recognizes that the psychological adjustment of some adults who remember having been rejected by parents in childhood is not as seriously impaired as it is for the majority of individuals. These people are called affective copers in IPARTheory. The sample included 724 affective copers and 1121 non-copers, which are adults who remember having been rejected by their parents in childhood, and whose psychological adjustment is impaired in adulthood. Results of analyses revealed that for male affective copers, both maternal and paternal rejection were unique and significant predictors of adjustment, whereas for female copers, age and an interaction between remembrances of maternal and paternal rejection were significant predictors. For male non-copers, age, remembered parental rejection, and an interaction between maternal and paternal rejection were significant predictors of psychological adjustment. For female non-copers, in contrast, remembrances of both maternal and paternal rejection in childhood were significant predictors. Lastly, perceived partner acceptance-rejection mediated the relationship between remembered parental rejection in childhood and the psychological adjustment of non-copers, but not of affective copers. Results of this study inform the work of practitioners and prevention scientists working with adults who experienced serious rejection from their parents in childhood.
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- Coping With Remembrances of Parental Rejection in Childhood: Gender Differences and Associations With Intimate Partner Relationships
Ronald P. Rohner
Preston A. Britner
Linda C. Halgunseth
Sandra A. Rigazio-DiGilio
- Springer US