The contemptuous separation: Facial expressions of emotion and breakups in young adulthood

Saeideh Heshmati, David A. Sbarra, Ashley E. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The importance of studying specific and expressed emotions after a stressful life event is well known, yet few studies have moved beyond assessing self-reported emotional responses to a romantic breakup. This study examined associations between computer-recognized facial expressions and self-reported breakup-related distress among recently separated college-aged young adults (N = 135; 37 men) on four visits across 9 weeks. Participants' facial expressions were coded using the Computer Expression Recognition Toolbox while participants spoke about their breakups. Of the seven expressed emotions studied, only Contempt showed a unique association with breakup-related distress over time. At baseline, greater Contempt was associated with less breakup-related distress; however, over time, greater Contempt was associated with greater breakup-related distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-469
Number of pages17
JournalPersonal Relationships
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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