Self-complexity and socio-emotional adjustment to a romantic event in early adulthood

Laura M. Perry, Michael Hoerger, Brittany D. Korotkin, Samantha J. Saks, Paul R. Duberstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Self-complexity, the extent that people experience themselves as having a number of distinct and meaningful social roles, may have implications for young adults’ socio-emotional adjustment to romantic life events. Based on prior research, we hypothesized that participants who reported lower self-complexity would have worse adjustment to a negative event (not having a date on Valentine’s Day) but better adjustment to a positive event (having a date). Participants (N = 325) completed measures of self-complexity and depression symptom severity at study entry. Approximately a month later, at the end of the day on Valentine’s Day, they completed a measure of emotion-regulation strategies and a reassessment of depression symptom severity. The hypothesized interaction was statistically significant; self-complexity was associated with better emotion-regulation (R2 =.15, p <.001) and depression outcomes (R2 =.05, p =.001) for non-daters, but worse outcomes for daters. Our findings suggest that self-complexity is related to self-regulation and has implications for adjustment to a range of life events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1268-1281
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Coping
  • depression
  • emotions
  • personality
  • self-concept

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