The Relational Self and Pre-existing Depression: Implicit Activation of Significant-other Representations Exacerbates Dysphoria and Evokes Rejection in the Working Self-concept

Regina Miranda, Susan M. Andersen, Tami Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This research tested the hypothesis that increased dysphoric mood and rejection in the working self-concept would emerge among individuals with pre-existing symptoms of depression-based on implicit activation (vs. not) of a mental representation of a loved-but-rejecting family member (rather than a disliked/rejecting one). Dysphoric college students randomly assigned to anticipate an interaction with a new person resembling a loved significant other showed increases in depressed mood and offered freely listed self-descriptions that were more characterized (according to judges) by a sense of "rejection" (relative to a control condition). No such effects occurred among non-dysphoric individuals. Dysphoric individuals may be especially vulnerable emotionally to expected encounters with new people who resemble loved family members by whom they have felt rejected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Depression
  • Interpersonal schemas
  • Mental representations
  • Significant others

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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