RSQ/RS – Personal (8 item and 18 item)

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Author of Tool: 

Downey, G., & Feldman, S. I.

Key references: 

Downey, G., & Feldman, S. I. (1996). Implications of Rejection Sensitivity for Intimate Relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 1327-1343.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The RSQ is intended to measure an individual’s levels of RS-personal. It is not designed for a specific population. There are two versions. One includes 8 (eight) items and the other includes 18 (eighteen) items.


The desire to achieve acceptance and to avoid rejection is widely acknowledged to be a central human motive (Homey, 1937; Maslow, 1987; McClelland, 1987; Rogers, 1959; Sullivan, 1937; see Baumeister & Leary, 1995, for a review). Consistent with this claim, social rejection is known to diminish well-being and disrupt interpersonal functioning. However, people differ in their readiness to perceive and react to rejection. Some people interpret undesirable interpersonal events benignly and maintain equanimity in their wake. Others readily perceive intentional rejection in the minor or imagined insensitivity of their significant others and overreact in ways that compromise their relationships and well-being. We have proposed that the latter people’s readiness to perceive and overreact to rejection is facilitated by a tendency to anxiously expect rejection by the significant people in their lives. Authors applied the term rejection sensitive to people who anxiously expect, readily perceive, and overreact to rejection. The RSQ/RS – Personal measures individual differences in RS. 


Internal consistency (alpha) 0.81Correlation with Interpersonal Sensitivity Scale of the SCL-90 (n=310) 0.48Correlation with socre on the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (n=295) 0.41Correlation with score on the Beck Depression Inventory (n=303) 0.35Test-retest reliability (n=104) 0.83



PDF icon8-item ScalePDF icon18-item Scale

Other Information: 

Scoring the RSQ 8 item & 18 item questionnaire: Calculate a score of rejection sensitivity for each situation by multiplying the level of rejection concern (the response to question a.) by the reverse of the level of acceptance expectancy (the response to question b.). The formula is:rejection sensitivity = (rejection concern) * (7-acceptance expectancy) Take the mean of the resulting 8 scores to obtain the overall rejection sensitivity score for the 8 item questionnaire; or take the mean of the resulting 18 scores to obtain the overall rejection sensitivity score for the 8 item questionnaire. 

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