Facing a breakup: Electromyographic responses moderate self-concept recovery following a romantic separation

Ashley E. Mason, Rita W. Law, Amanda E.B. Bryan, Robert M. Portley, David A. Sbarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Romantic breakups arouse fundamental questions about the self: Who am I without my partner? This study examined self-concept reorganization and psychological well-being over an 8-week period in the months following a breakup. Multilevel analyses revealed that poorer self-concept recovery preceded poorer well-being and was associated with love for an ex-partner, suggesting that failure to redefine the self contributes to post-breakup distress. Psychophysiological data revealed that greater activity in the corrugator supercilia facial muscle while thinking about an ex-partner predicted poorer self-concept recovery and strengthened the negative association between love for an ex-partner and self-concept recovery. Thus, the interaction between self-report and psychophysiological data provided information about the importance of self-concept recovery to post-breakup adjustment not tapped by either method alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-568
Number of pages18
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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