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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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133. Rejection Sensitivity, Rumination, and Social Approach and Avoidance Learning

Previous research suggests that individuals high in rejection sensitivity experience more troubled relationships and are more susceptible to psychopathology, including mood and anxiety disorders. Additionally, previous research suggests that rejection sensitivity and rumination, or perseveration on negative events, are associated with heightened reactivity to social feedback. However, few studies have examined rejection sensitivity, rumination, or other types of repetitive thinking in relation to social learning behaviors.

In the current study, we used a validated, modified version of the Iowa Gambling Task to examine approach and avoidance learning using social feedback in a sample of 191 (134 female) undergraduate students. Multilevel models estimated relationships between clinical constructs including self-reported rejection sensitivity, rumination on positive affect, dampening, and repetitive negative thinking, and changes in approach towards advantageous and avoidance of disadvantageous decks. Results showed that there was no significant effect of rumination on positive affect or repetitive negative thinking on either approach or avoidance learning. Both dampening (b=0.018, SE=0.008, p=0.018) and rejection sensitivity (b=-0.004, SE=0.002, p=0.023) were associated with the difference in changes in the proportion of plays on good and bad decks, where individuals engaging in greater dampening and/or experiencing greater rejection sensitivity exhibited poorer approach and avoidance social learning behaviors.

Julia Case
Temple University

Samantha Birk
Temple University

Rebekah Mennies
Temple University

Thomas Olino
Temple University


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