Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, 22:204 | Cite as

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

  • Laura R. Stroud
  • Marian Tanofsky-Kraff
  • Denise E. Wilfley
  • Peter Salovey
Empirical Articles


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.


  1. (1).
    Blumenthal JA, Burg MM, Barefoot J, et al: Social support, Type A behavior, and coronary artery disease.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1987,49:331–339.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. (2).
    Klerman GL, Weissman MM, Rounsaville BJ, Chevron ES:Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1984.Google Scholar
  3. (3).
    Seeman TE, Syme SL: Social networks and coronary artery disease: A longitudinal analysis.Social Psychology Quarterly. 1987,48:237–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. (4).
    Wilfley DE, Agras WS, Welch CF, et al: Group cognitive-behavior therapy and group interpersonal psychotherapy for the nonpurging bulimic individual: A controlled comparison.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1993,61:296–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. (5).
    Berkman LF, Syme SL: Social networks, host resistance, and mortality: A nine-year follow-up study of Alameda County residents.American Journal of Epidemiology. 1979,109:186–204.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. (6).
    Burman B, Margolin G: Analysis of the association between marital relationships and health problems: An interactive perspective.Psychological Bulletin. 1992,112:39–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. (7).
    House JS, Landis KR, Umberson D: Social relationships and health.Science. 1988,241:540–545.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. (8).
    Weissman MM: Advances in psychiatric epidemiology: Rates and risks for major depression.American Journal of Public Health. 1987,77:445–451.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. (9).
    Brown PC, Smith TW: Social influence, marriage, and the heart: Cardiovascular consequences of interpersonal control in husbands and wives.Health Psychology. 1992,11:88–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. (10).
    Christenfeld N, Glynn LM, Kulik JA, Gerin W: The social construction of cardiovascular reactivity.Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 1998,20:317–325.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. (11).
    Smith TW, Gerin W: The social psychology of cardiovascular response: An introduction to the special issue.Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 1998,20:243–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. (12).
    Lassner JB, Matthews KA, Stoney CM: Are cardiovascular reactors to asocial stress also reactors to social stress?Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1994,66:69–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. (13).
    Linden W, Rutledge T, Con A: A case for the usefulness of laboratory social stressors.Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 1998,20:310–316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. (14).
    Cattanach L, Malley R, Rodin J: Psychologic and physiologic reactivity to stressors in eating disordered individuals.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1988,50:591–599.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. (15).
    Heatherton TF, Herman CP, Polivy J: Effects of physical threat and ego threat on eating behavior.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1991,60:138–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. (16).
    Kirschbaum C, Pirke KM, Helhammer DH: The ‘Trier Social Stress Test’—A tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting.Neuropsychobiology. 1993,28:76–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. (17).
    Matthews KA, Manuck SB, Saab PG: Cardiovascular responses of adolescents during a naturally occurring stressor and their behavioral and psychophysiological predictors.Psychophysiology. 1986,23:198–209.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. (18).
    Abbott J, Sutherland C, Watt D: Cooperative dyadic interactions, perceived control, and task difficulty in Type A and Type B individuals: A cardiovascular study.Psychophysiology. 1987,24: 1–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. (19).
    Davis MC, Matthews KA: Do gender-relevant characteristics determine cardiovascular reactivity? Match versus mismatch of traits and situation.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1996,71:527–535.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. (20).
    Smith TW, Limon JP, Gallo LC, Ngu LQ: Interpersonal control and cardiovascular reactivity: Goals, behavioral expression, and the moderating effects of sex.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1996,70:1012–1024.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. (21).
    Miller SB, Friese M, Dolgoy L, et al: Hostility, sodium consumption, and cardiovascular response to interpersonal distress.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1998,60:71–77.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. (22).
    Suarez EC, Harlan E, Peoples MC, Williams RB: Cardiovascular and emotional responses in women: The role of hostility and harassment.Health Psychology. 1993,12:459–468.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. (23).
    Suarez EC, Kuhn CN, Schanberg SM, Williams RB, Zimmerman EA: Neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and emotional responses of hostile men: The role of interpersonal challenge.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1998,60:78–88.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. (24).
    Ewart CK, Taylor CB, Kraemer HC, Agras WS: High blood pressure and marital discord: Not being nasty matters more than being nice.Health Psychology. 1991,10:155–163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. (25).
    Levenson RW, Gottman JM: Marital interaction: Physiological linkage and affective exchange.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1983,45:587–597.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. (26).
    Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Malarkey WB, Cacioppo JR, Glaser R: Stressful personal relationships: Immune and endocrine function. In Glaser R, Kiecolt-Glaser JK (eds),Handbook of Human Stress and Immunity. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1994, 321–339.Google Scholar
  27. (27).
    Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Malarkey WB, Chee M, et al: Negative behavior during marital conflict is associated with immunological down-regulation.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1993,55:395–409.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. (28).
    Larkin KT, Semenchuk EM, Frazer NL, Suchday S, Taylor RL: Cardiovascular and behavioral response to social confrontation: Measuring real-life stress in the laboratory.Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 1998,20:294–301.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. (29).
    Waldstein SR, Neumann SA, Burns HO, Maier BA: Role-played interpersonal interaction: Ecological validity and cardiovascular reactivity.Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 1998,20:302–309.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. (30).
    Williams KD: Social ostracism. In Kowalski R (ed),Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors. New York: Plenum Press, 1997, 133–170.Google Scholar
  31. (31).
    Williams KD, Sommer K: Social ostracism by coworkers: Does rejection lead to loafing or compensation?Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 1997,23:693–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. (32).
    Green BL, Saenz DS: Tests of a mediational model of restrained eating: The role of dieting self-efficacy and social comparisons.Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 1995,14:1–22.Google Scholar
  33. (33).
    Cools J, Schotte DE, McNally RJ: Emotional arousal and overeating in restrained eaters.Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 1992,101:348–351.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. (34).
    Tanofsky-Kraff M, Wilfley DE, Spurrell E: The impact of interpersonal and ego-related stressors on restrained eaters.International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2000,27:411–418.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. (35).
    Heatherton TF, Striepe M, Wittenberg L: Emotional distress and disinhibited eating: The role of self.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 1998,24:301–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. (36).
    Herman CP, Polivy J: Restrained eating. In Stunkard A (ed),Obesity. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders, 1980, 208–225.Google Scholar
  37. (37).
    Ruderman AJ: The Restraint Scale: A psychometric investigation.Behavior Research and Therapy. 1983,21:258–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. (38).
    Heatherton TF, Herman CP, Polivy J, King GA, McGee ST: The (mis)measurement of restraint: An analysis of conceptual and psychometric issues.Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 1988,97: 19–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. (39).
    Rosenthal R, Rosnow RL:Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991.Google Scholar
  40. (40).
    Stroud LR, Salovey P, Epel ES: Sex differences in adrenocortical responses to achievement and interpersonal stress. Eleventh Annual Convention of the American Psychological Society. Denver, CO: 1999.Google Scholar
  41. (41).
    Kirschbaum C, Hellhammer DH: Salivary cortisol in psychobiological research: An overview.Neuropsychobiology. 1989,22:150–169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. (42).
    Hellhammer DH, Kirschbaum C, Belkien L: Measurement of salivary cortisol under psychological stimulation. In Hingtgen JN, Hellhammer DH, Huppmann G (eds),Advanced Methods in Psychobiology. Toronto, Canada: CJ Hogefe, Inc., 1987, 281–289.Google Scholar
  43. (43).
    Vasey MW, Thayer JF: The continuing problem of false positives in repeated measures ANOVA in psychophysiology: A multivariate solution.Psychophysiology. 1987,24:479–486.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. (44).
    Benjamin L: Facts and artifacts in using analysis of covariance to “undue” the law of initial values.Psychophysiology. 1967,4:187–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. (45).
    Llabre MM, Spitzer SB, Saab PG, Ironson GH, Schneiderman N: The reliability and specificity of delta versus residualized change as measures of cardiovascular reactivity to behavioral challenges.Psychophysiology. 1991,28:701–711.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. (46).
    Dunnett CW: A multiple comparison procedure for comparing several treatments with a control.Journal of the American Statistical Association. 1955,50:1096–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. (47).
    Levine MD, Marcus MD: Eating behavior following stress in women with and without bulimic symptoms.Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 1997,19:132–138.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. (48).
    Ewart CK, Kolodner KB: Social competence interview for assessing physiological reactivity in adolescents.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1991,53:289–304.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. (49).
    Smith TW, Gallo LC, Goble L, Ngu LQ, Stark KA: Agency, communion, and cardiovascular reactivity during marital interaction.Health Psychology. 1998,17:537–545.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. (50).
    Kirschbaum C, Kudielka BM, Gaab J, Schommer N, Hellhammer DH: Impact of gender, menstrual cycle phase, and oral contraceptives on the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1999,61:154–162.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. (51).
    Kirschbaum C, Wust S, Hellhammer DH: Consistent sex differences in cortisol responses to psychological stress.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1992,54:648–657.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. (52).
    Luecken LJ: Childhood attachment and loss experiences affect adult cardiovascular and cortisol function.Psychosomatic Medicine. 1998,60:765–772.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. (53).
    Stoney CM, Davis MC, Matthews KA: Sex differences in physiological responses to stress and in coronary heart disease: A causal link?Psychophysiology. 1987,24:127–131.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. (54).
    Kendler KS, MacLean C, Neale M, et al: The genetic epidemiology of bulimia nervosa.American Journal of Psychiatry. 1991,148:1627–1637.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. (55).
    Nolen-Hoeksema S:Sex Differences in Depression. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  56. (56).
    Dientsbier RA: Arousal and physiological toughness: Implications for mental and physical health.Psychological Review. 1989,96:84–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura R. Stroud
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marian Tanofsky-Kraff
    • 3
  • Denise E. Wilfley
    • 4
  • Peter Salovey
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Brown University School of MedicineProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.The Catholic University of AmericaWashington, DCUSA
  4. 4.San Diego State University and University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations