Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Psychology (PSYC)

First Advisor

Maire Ford


Individuals differ in how they interpret and respond to romantic relationship events. Some individuals engage in responses that promote personal and relationship well-being, while others engage in maladaptive responses. It is important to identify factors that shape responses to relationship events. The current study investigated self-esteem and implicit theories of relationships as predictors of resilient and adaptive responses to negative and positive romantic relationship events. Self-esteem plays a role in shaping these responses, with low self-esteem individuals perceiving more threat from negative relationship events leading to more harmful responses and those with high self-esteem responding more resiliently and adaptively to negative relationship events. Implicit theories of relationships (i.e., growth beliefs and destiny beliefs) guide individuals’ inferences about relationships and their responses to relationship threats. Growth belief are characterized by an individual’s belief that relationships are cultivated and developed and that relationship challenges can be overcome. This study examined individuals’ cognitive responses (e.g., rumination about the event), emotional responses, and behavioral intent (e.g., the likelihood of the individual reacting with hostility toward their partner following the event) following hypothetical negative and positive relationship events. Findings suggest those with high self-esteem and growth belief respond more adaptively. They experience more positive cognitions, emotions, and behavioral intentions following both positive and negative relationship events.