The Moderating Role of Gender in the Relation Between Rejection Sensitivity and Depressive Symptoms in Early Adulthood

Maja Brekalo, Gordana Keresteš


Previous studies showed that rejection sensitivity is a predictor
of depressive symptoms. However, it is not clear whether
gender is a moderator in this relation. This study aims to
longitudinally examine the contribution of rejection sensitivity
to depressive symptoms in university students and the
moderating role of gender in that relation. A longitudinal
research with a two-wave data collection five months apart
included 277 students (53 male) aged between 18 and 29
years. The results showed that, controlling for the initial level
of depressive symptoms, rejection sensitivity predicted the
level of depressive symptoms after five months in female but
not in male students. Females with higher rejection sensitivity
showed higher increase in depressive symptoms in a five-
-month period than females with lower rejection sensitivity.
The results for females are in line with the rejection sensitivity
theory, while the results for males require further research.


rejection sensitivity; depressive symptoms; gender differences; students; longitudinal research

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