Re-Evaluating the Microanalytic Relationship between Reassurance Seeking and Rejection in Marriage

Master's Thesis


The behavior of a depressed person is thought to produce changes in others’ behavior that depresses the dysphoric person further (Coyne, 1976). One behavior that produces changes in others’ behavior is excessive reassurance seeking. The existing literature on reassurance seeking suggests that this behavior leads to interpersonal rejection (Joiner, Alfano, & Metalsky, 1992; Joiner & Metalsky, 1995). This investigation employed multiple methods to measure reassurance seeking and rejection, allowing for the examination of reassurance seeking and rejection on the microanalytic level. This study broadened the conceptualization of reassurance seeking and narrowed the conceptualization of rejection. The sample was comprised of married couples, including non-depressed and clinically depressed people. Observed reassurance seeking was associated with observed rejection by spouses in both depressed and non-depressed husbands and wives. Husbands’ depressive severity moderated the relationship between husbands’ observed reassurance seeking and wives’ rejection of husbands. Implications for the conceptualization of excessive reassurance seeking and for future research are discussed.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04112007-191947

Author Lora A Smitham
Advisor David A. Smith, PhD
Contributor Gerald Haeffel, Committee Member
Contributor David A. Smith, PhD, Committee Chair
Contributor Alexandra F. Corning, PhD, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2007-03-08

Submission Date 2007-04-11
  • United States of America

  • reassurance seeking

  • interpersonal rejection

  • depression

  • marriage

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.