, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 204-213

The Yale Interpersonal Stressor (YIPS): Affective, physiological, and behavioral responses to a novel interpersonal rejection paradigm

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Given links between interpersonal functioning and health as well as the dearth of truly interpersonal laboratory stressors, we present a live rejection paradigm, the Yale Interpersonal Stressor (YIPS), and examine its effects on mood, eating behavior, blood pressure, and cortisol in two experiments. The YIPS involves one or more interaction(s) between the participant and two same-sex confederates in which the participant is made to feel excluded and isolated. In Experiment 1, 50 female undergraduates were randomly assigned to the YIPS or a control condition. Participants in the YIPS condition experienced greater negative affect and less positive affect than did those in the control condition. Further, restrained eaters ate more following the YIPS than did nonrestrained eaters. In Experiment 2, 25 male and female undergraduates completed the YIPS. The YIPS induced significant increases in tension, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) from baseline, while significantly decreasing positive affect. The YIPS appeared particularly relevant for women, resulting in significantly greater increases in cortisol and SBP for women compared to men. The YIPS, then, provides an alternative to traditional, achievement-oriented laboratory stressors and may allow for the identification of individuals most vulnerable to interpersonal stress.

Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by grants from the American Psychological Association, the Enders Research Foundation, and the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society to the first author and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation to the fourth author.
We thank the General Clinical Research Center at Yale for carrying out the salivary cortisol analyses for the study. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on a previous draft of this article.
Portions of this article were presented at The Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, March 1999.
Special Note: The YIPS was developed by the second and third authors.