Breakup distress in university students

Tiffany Field, Miguel Diego, Martha Pelaez, Osvelia Deeds, Jeannette Delgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


A sample of 192 university students who had experienced a recent breakup of a romantic relationship was divided into high versus low score groups based on the Breakup Distress Scale. Females had higher Breakup Distress Scale scores. The group who had high Breakup Distress Scale scores reported having less time since the breakup occurred, did not initiate the breakup, reported that the breakup was sudden and unexpected, felt rejected and betrayed, and had not yet found a new relationship. They also scored higher on the Intrusive Thoughts Scale, on the Difficulty Controlling Intrusive Thoughts Scale, on The Sleep Disturbance Scale, and on the depression (CES-D) and anxiety scales (STAI). In a regression analysis, the most important predictors of the Breakup Distress scores were the depression score (CES-D),the feeling of being betrayed by the breakup, shorter time since the breakup occurred, and a higher rating of the relationship prior to the breakup. This explained as much as 37% of the variance, suggesting that these factors are important contributors to relationship breakup distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-727
Number of pages23
Issue number176
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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