The Relationship between Neural Responses to Rejection and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescent Romantic Relationships: a Dual EEG Acquisition Study
The research question this thesis aims to answer is whether depressive symptoms of adolescents involved in romantic relationships are related to their rejection sensitivity. It was hypothesized that adolescents who have more rejection sensitivity, indicated by a bigger P3b response, will have more depressive symptoms. This hypothesis was tested by having adolescent couples attend a lab session in which they played a Social Rejection Task while EEG data was being collected. Rejection sensitivity was measured using the activity of the P3b ERP at the Pz electrode. The P3b ERP was chosen to measure rejection sensitivity as it has been used before to measure rejection sensitivity in previous ostracism studies. Depressive symptoms were measured using the 20-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D, Radloff, 1977). After running a multiple regression analysis, the results did not support the hypothesis; instead, the results showed no relationship between rejection sensitivity and depressive symptoms. The results are also contrary to similar literature which typically shows that the higher the rejection sensitivity, the greater the depressive symptoms.