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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Jessica N Fish, Ph.D. / Jessica N Fish Publications / The Rejection Sensitivity Model: Sexual Minority Adolescents in Context

Laura Baams, Wouter J Kiekens, and Jessica N Fish (In press)

The Rejection Sensitivity Model: Sexual Minority Adolescents in Context

Archives of Sexual Behavior:1-5.

Theoretical and empirical integration of the rejection sensitivity (RS) model to sexual minority people is one of the few attempts to extend existing theoretical frameworks that explain mental health disparities for this population, namely the minority stress framework (Meyer, 2003) and its extensions (Hatzenbuehler, 2009; Testa, Habarth, Peta, Balsam, & Bockting, 2015). Theoretical origins of RS are rooted in the desire to understand how rejection from significant others affects subsequent other close relationships (Downey & Feldman, 1996). This was later extended to conceptualize rejection based on membership of a stigmatized group and modified to understand sexual orientation-related RS among sexual minorities (Dyar, Feinstein, Eaton, & London, 2016; Pachankis, Goldfried, & Ramrattan, 2008). Feinstein (2019) brings new life to this adapted application by grounding and integrating the basic tenets of sexual orientation-related RS alongside a critical health compromising process of minority stress: vigilance. Meyer theorized vigilance as a core form of proximal minority stressors and explains that “LGB people learn to anticipate—indeed, expect—negative regard from members of the dominant culture. To ward off potential negative regard, discrimination, and violence, they must be vigilant” and this vigilance is “related to feared possible (even if imagined) negative events” (Meyer, 2003, p. 680–681). Feinstein explains that existing theoretical frameworks (Hatzenbuehler, 2009; Meyer, 2003) mention vigilance and RS as important processes, but lack a comprehensive integration of these concepts. Given that schemas for RS are formed early in the life course, we focus on the applicability to sexual minority adolescents, and other marginalized groups.

Fish, Mental Health, Health in Social Context, LGBTQ, Sexual Minority
First Online: October 29, 2019

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