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11-02-2019 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2019

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2019

Plenty of Fish in the Ocean: How do Traits Reflecting Resiliency Moderate Adjustment After Experiencing a Romantic Breakup in Emerging Adulthood?

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2019
Lucia F. O’Sullivan, Kathleen Hughes, France Talbot, Rice Fuller
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Breakups are common but often one of the most distressing experiences that young people can have. Poor adjustment to relationship loss is linked to depressive symptoms and rumination. This study assessed traits that reflect resiliency and that might comprise protective factors that ameliorate depressive symptoms and rumination. Online survey participants included 866 male and female late adolescents (18–22 years; Mean age = 20.7; 62% female; 82% White/Caucasian; 7% Asian/Southeast Asian; 6% Black/African American) who recently had experienced the breakup of a romantic relationship. Analyses assessed whether optimism, grit, and self-esteem moderated the breakup-adjustment relationship. After controlling for gender and current relationship status, higher optimism, self-esteem, and grit were expected to be associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms and rumination for those who had experienced a breakup in the three months prior to the study, and for the most part, these predictions were confirmed. These findings can be reinforced in education and counseling programs to better support individuals suffering the aftermath of a breakup. The findings add to the literature on adolescents’ development of interpersonal functioning and skills required in intimate relationships.

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