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Coping with Break-Ups: Rebound Relationships and Gender Socialization


  • Cassie Shimek

    () (Department of Communication Studies, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA)

  • Richard Bello

    () (Department of Communication Studies, Sam Houston State University, Box 2299, Huntsville, TX 77341, USA)


When serious romantic relationships are terminated, partners are faced with convoluted and complex challenges of detachment from their previous partner, negative feelings about the overall situation, and the need to move forward in life. When faced with this relational upheaval, some individuals employ and find relief in superficial or noncommittal rebound relationships, which act as a means for coping with the loss of the previous relationship and the severed emotional attachment to an ex-partner, but which are under studied by empirical researchers. In a study of 201 participants, men were predicted and found to be more likely to enter rebound relationships in the aftermath of a relational termination based on lower levels of social support, more emotional attachment to an ex-partner, and displaying the ludus (or game playing) love style. In addition to the measures of these variables, gender socialization and parental investment theory provide further support for the study’s claims. In sum, rebound relationships were employed by men as a distraction from their feelings of emotional attachment for their ex-partner, but also as a source of support and due to inherent ludic characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Cassie Shimek & Richard Bello, 2014. "Coping with Break-Ups: Rebound Relationships and Gender Socialization," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:3:y:2014:i:1:p:24-43:d:32551

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ron Martin, 2012. "Regional economic resilience, hysteresis and recessionary shocks," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-32, January.
    2. Gernot Grabher & Oliver Ibert, 2006. "Bad company? The ambiguity of personal knowledge networks," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 251-271, June.
    3. Lasse Steiner & Lucian Schneider, 2012. "The Happy Artist?: An Empirical Application of the Work-Preference Model," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 430, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Andy Pike & Stuart Dawley & John Tomaney, 2010. "Resilience, adaptation and adaptability," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 3(1), pages 59-70.
    5. Tara Vinodrai, 2012. "Design in a downturn? Creative work, labour market dynamics and institutions in comparative perspective," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 6(1), pages 159-176.
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    More about this item


    rebound relationship; emotional attachment; Lee’s love styles; emotional distress; gender; social support; gender socialization; parental investment theory;

    JEL classification:

    • A - General Economics and Teaching
    • B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology
    • N - Economic History
    • P - Economic Systems
    • Y80 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines - - - Related Disciplines
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General


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