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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies