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Previous research has shown an association between parental relationship and friendship quality, so that with higher quality relationships with parents, there is an increased probability of higher friendship quality. However, the process by which these variables are related remains unclear. The present study tested rejection sensitivity, or the tendency to readily perceive and expect social humiliation or rejection, as a possible mediator of the relationship between parental relationship quality and friend alienation. The current study hypothesized that parental relationship quality would be inversely associated with friendship alienation; and that the association between parental relationship quality and friendship alienation would be mediated by rejection sensitivity. The current study analyzed data collected from college students. Results from multiple regression revealed that parental relationship quality was significantly negatively associated with rejection sensitivity (b = -1.808, p < 0.0001) and negatively associated with friendship alienation (b = -0.193, p < 0.0004). Additionally, rejection sensitivity was significantly associated with friendship alienation (b = 0.087, p < 0.0001). Lastly, rejection sensitivity mediated the association between parental relationship quality (communication) and friendship alienation (b = -0.158, p < 0.0001), such that the significant inverse relationship between parental relationship quality and friendship alienation was accounted for by rejection sensitivity. These results further the understanding of the relationship between parent-child relationship quality and friendship quality and suggest that young adults with poor quality parental relationships may be at risk of developing high levels of rejection sensitivity, leading them to be at an increased risk for experiencing alienation in their relationships with friends.

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Independent Research

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Jackson Goodnight

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Stander Symposium poster


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