This paper explores five published articles that report on results from research conducted on individuals who have gone through the dissolution of a romantic relationship. The result of said dissolution was examined in these individuals to see how it impacted their self-esteem and stress levels. This paper further explores this relationship and includes mood into the exploration in order to determine how mood and an imagined breakup affects one’s self-esteem levels. In order to examine this relationship, a sample of 230 students, ages 18-22 years, from a Quantitative Research Methods class at Brock University was taken. These participants were asked to complete two reading exercises followed by completing a number of Likert-scale type questionnaires. These questionnaires were used to determine if negative mood statements affected the participant’s mood, and if those mood statements along with imagined breakup role affected the participant’s self-esteem. It was predicted that those in the negative mood and rejected breakup role condition would have the lowest self-esteem, and that there would be an interaction between mood condition and breakup role, however the majority of the predictions were proven incorrect. Results are analyzed and discussed along with limitations described and suggestions for future research suggestions given.
Mood and its Impact on Self-Esteem Following a Breakup Romantic relationships are defined as short, medium or long-term relationships that are characterized by strong emotion, and high levels of intimacy. These relationships are a desired experience especially in our culture, as the effects of being in a romantic relationship can be seen to increase ones self-esteem and provide the individual with a profound sense of worth (Aron, Paris, & Aron 1995). However, numerous studies (Aron et al. 1995; Chung et al., 2002; La Greca & Harrison, 2005; Mason, Law, Bryan, Portley, & Sbarra, 2012) show that the termination of such a relationship can cause serious hardship to an individual. Nonetheless, not everyone feels this way. The current research discusses romantic relationships in one way or another, however this research does not discuss in detail how mood, along with romantic relationship dissolution, impacts self-esteem. This is why we have proposed this study, as we believe that mood and romantic relationship dissolution are extremely pertinent concepts that greatly impact self-esteem, both deserving further study. Several studies (Aron et al., 1995; Chung et al., 2002; Frazier & Cook, 1993; La Greca & Harrison, 2005; Mason et al., 2012) argue that positive romantic relationships provide a constructive aspect for ones self-esteem, stating that when one is in love they have higher self-esteem or self-concept. Although this may be true for many, there are also some people who experience negative relationships and therefore experience distress, and depressive symptoms (La Greca & Harrison, 2005). With this being said, these individuals may choose to end such relationships. In this context, the dissolution of such relationships does not cause negative repercussions as they are taking themselves out of that harmful relationship.
As discussed by Aron, Paris and Aron (1995) when two persons are in a relationship they experience a positive self-concept or self-esteem. This is due to the fact that in a relationship they come to understand that someone loves them making them feel good about themselves therefore increasing their self-worth and self-esteem. It is also important to note that when one is in a relationship, they create a self-concept about themselves that would be different if they were not with another person. Similarly, Mason, Law, Bryan, Portley, & Sbarra (2012) agree with Aron et al. (1995), however they go further by arguing that when that relationship comes to an end, the