Ronald P. Rohner

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Ronald P. Rohner
Ronald P. Rohner.png
Crescent City, CA
ResidenceUnited States
Alma materStanford University (MA & PHD); University of Oregon (BS)
Known forInterpersonal Acceptance-Rejection Theory (IPARTheory); Parental acceptance-rejection
Spouse(s)Nancy D. Rohner
ChildrenPreston C. Rohner, Ashley C. Ezelle
AwardsDistinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology (2004); Outstanding International Psychologist Award (2008, USA); Division 52 Henry David International Mentoring Award (2017)

Ronald P. Rohner is an international psychologist, and a Professor Emeritus of Human Development and Family Studies and Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. There he is also Director of the Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection, and Executive Director of the International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection. He is best known for the work on interpersonal acceptance-rejection that he initiated in 1960. His extensive and seminal research led to the development of a full-blown evidence-based theory known as the interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory (IPARTheory). IPARTheory is a theory of socialization and lifespan development. It proposes that interpersonal acceptance and rejection consistently predict the psychological and behavioral adjustment of children and adults across all ethnicities, languages, genders, cultures, and other socio-demographic groups of the world.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Early years and education[edit]

Rohner was born on April 17, 1935 in Crescent City, California. His father was a career officer during World War II, but later—along with Rohner's mother—became a successful business entrepreneur. Rohner had one older sister. After completing high school at the age of 18, Rohner served two years in the army. He then went into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point[7] for a short period of time before studying psychology, sociology, and anthropology at the University of Oregon. He graduated with a B.S. in 1958 after going through undergraduate school in three years. He and his former wife then taught for a year in the American School of Tangier, Morocco, where they were also resident directors of a dormitory of Moroccan children who attended the school. In 1960 he completed his M.A., and in 1964 he was awarded his Ph.D. in psychological anthropology. Both of the advanced degrees were from Stanford University.

Career trajectory[edit]

During the course of his graduate work, he developed a lasting interest in the consequences, antecedents, and other correlates of interpersonal acceptance and rejection. This interest is embedded in a larger intellectual commitment to the fields of family studies and international psychology—especially as these fields converge on the issues of parent-child relations and the social-emotional development of children in America and internationally. Over the course of time, he authored, co-authored, and edited 18 books and special issue of journals, and he published more than 200 articles, chapters, and other publications and electronic media. In pursuit of his research endeavors, he received numerous grants from National Science Foundation, NIMH, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Philosophical Society, and other agencies.[8][9]

Academic career[edit]

After earning his Ph.D., Rohner accepted a faculty position at the University of Connecticut where he remains to this day as a Professor Emeritus. In the course of developing his research, he lived and worked in many nations, including India, the West Indies, Turkey, Morocco, several parts of Europe, and among the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia, Canada. He is a former President of the Board of Directors of Natchaug (Psychiatric) Hospital in Mansfield, CT,[10] as well as a founder and Past President of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research.[11] Additionally, he was the founding President of the International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection. He has served on the Executive Council of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, and on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.[12] From 1975-1977, he took a two-year leave-of-absence from the University of Connecticut to become Professor of Anthropology at the Catholic University of America,[13] where he also served as a senior scientist in the Boys Town Center for the Study of Youth Development.

Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection Theory (IPARTheory)[edit]

Rohner has dedicated his professional life to researching interpersonal (especially parental) acceptance-rejection issues throughout the lifespan. His work has led to the development of interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory (IPARTheory). The theory is composed of three subtheories, each of which deals with a separate but interrelated set of issues. Specifically, IPARTheory's personality subtheory—which is the most highly developed component of the theory—deals primarily with the pancultural nature and effects of interpersonal (especially parental) acceptance and rejection.[2][5] Coping subtheory explores the fact that some individuals are better able to cope with experiences of perceived rejection than are other individuals. Finally, IPARTheory's sociocultural systems subtheory attempts to predict and explain major causes and sociocultural correlates of interpersonal acceptance-rejection worldwide. Empirical evidence overwhelmingly supports the theory's major postulates and predictions, especially postulates and prediction in personality subtheory.[14][15][16][17][18] Emerging evidence about the neurobiological and biochemical risks posed for the development, structure, and function of the human brain are beginning to help explain why these postulates and predictions are so consistently confirmed panculturally. IPARTheory and associated measures have roots in almost six decades of research with more than 200,000 children, adolescents, and adults in over 60 nations worldwide, and with members of every major American ethnic group. Currently, IPARTheory has 25 measures available translated into 53 languages and dialects for assessing interpersonal acceptance-rejection.[19][20][21]


His work is cited in TV programs, magazines, radio shows,[22] newspapers, the documentary film "Reject", and in his TEDx UConn presentation.[23] Rohner has been elected to the status of Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the American Anthropological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a recipient of the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology, APA's Outstanding International Psychologist Award from the USA,[24] and APA's Division 52 Henry David International Mentoring Award.[25]

Photo credit: TEDX UConn (2017)


Throughout his distinguished career, Rohner has helped shape the future of interpersonal acceptance-rejection by fostering multiple generations of talented trainees and faculty through mentoring, to enable them to attain their full potential. Many of these individuals now hold senior leadership positions at academic institutions internationally, and many of them continue to emulate the superb mentoring they received from him by providing excellent mentoring of their own to the next generation. His role as a mentor is as a didactic instructor, a passionate researcher, a seeker of talent and truth, an upholder of impeccable standards, a tough task maker when necessary, a compassionate listener, a dedicated and patient teacher, and a friend.[26]


IPARTheory has been described as a significant approach to understanding interpersonal relationships throughout human lifespan. Over the course of six decades, IPARTheory research has given rise to a surge of empirical research, and has helped in understanding and exploring interpersonal acceptance and rejection issues.[27][28][29][30] IPARTheory stresses the following three foundational postulates: (1) Individuals have a biologically-based need for positive response (e.g., for emotional support, care, comfort, love—i.e., acceptance) from the people important to them. (2) Individuals understand themselves to be cared about or not cared about by these people in one or a combination of four specific ways. These include, feelings that the significant other is warm and affectionate (or cold and unaffectionate), hostile and aggressive, indifferent and neglecting, and/or undifferentiated rejecting. Undifferentiated rejection refers to an individual's belief that the significant other does not really care about, want, appreciate, or love the individual, without necessarily having objective indicators that the significant other is unaffectionate, aggressive, or neglecting. (3) When individuals feel that those people who are so important in their lives do not care about them (i.e., reject them), they are biologically predisposed to respond emotionally and behaviorally in at least ten ways. These include becoming (a) anxious, (b) insecure, and (c) dependent or defensively independent depending on the form, frequency, intensity, and longevity of the perceived rejection. Additionally, rejected persons are postulated in IPARTheory to have a heightened tendency to develop problems with (d) anger, active or passive aggression, or anger-management problems, (e) impaired self-esteem, (f) impaired self-adequacy, (g) emotional unresponsiveness, and (h) emotional instability. Moreover, seriously rejected persons are expected to develop (i) a negative worldview, and other (j) cognitive distortions.[15][31]


  1. ^ Gray, Barbara. "Dad's love can be crucial for happy childhood, study confirms". HealthDay. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b Putnick, D.; et al. (2012). "Agreement in mother and father acceptance-rejection, warmth, and hostility/rejection/neglect of children across nine countries". Cross-Cultural Research. 3 (46): 191–223.
  3. ^ Rohner, R.P. (1975). They love me, they love me not: A worldwide study of the effects of parental acceptance and rejection. New Haven, CT: HRAF Press.
  4. ^ Rohner, R.P. "Introduction to interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory (IPARTheory), methods, evidence, and implications".
  5. ^ a b Putnick, D.; et al. (2015). "Perceived mother and father acceptance-rejection predict four unique aspects of child adjustment across nine countries". Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 8 (56): 923–932.
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  7. ^ West Point. "Alumni". West Point Association of Graduates. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  8. ^ Wolcott, H. F. (2003). The man in the principal's office: An ethnography. Altamira: Rowman.
  9. ^ HDFS. "Faculty". Family Studies. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  10. ^ Natchaug Hospital's Past Directors. "Past Director's Foundation Brick". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  11. ^ Former Presidents of SCCR. "Officer's Page". SCCR. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  12. ^ Past Directors. "Team". Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  13. ^ CUA. "Past Faculty". CUA's past faculty. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  14. ^ Rohner, R.P.; Khaleque, A (2005). Handbook for the study of parental acceptance and rejection (4th ed.). Storrs,CT: Rohner Research Publications.
  15. ^ a b Lansford, J.; et al. (2014). "Corporal punishment, maternal warmth, and child adjustment: a longitudinal study in eight countries". Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. 4 (43): 671–685.
  16. ^ Veneziano, R.A.; Muller, E. (2005). "Cross-cultural research in parental acceptance-rejection theory". Ethos. 33: 293–426.
  17. ^ Deater-Deckard, K.; et al. (2011). "The association between parental warmth and control in thirteen cultural groups". Journal of Family Psychology. 3 (25): 790–794.
  18. ^ Jager, J.; et al. (2016). "Early adolescents' unique perspectives of maternal and paternal rejection: Examining their across-dyad generalizability and relations with adjustment 1 year later". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 10 (45): 2108–2124.
  19. ^ Khaleque, A; Ali, S (2017). "A systematic review of meta-analyses of research on Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection Theory: Constructs and measures". Journal of Family Theory & Review. 9 (4).
  20. ^ Moldovan, V. (2004). "In pursuit of conceptual equivalence: Translation of child personal assessment questionnaire into the Russian language". World Cultures: Journal of Comparative and Cross-Cultural Research. 15 (2): 190–208.
  21. ^ Naz, F.; Kauser, R. (2015). "Translation and validation of Interpersonal Relationship Anxiety Questionnaire (IRAQ)". FWU Journal of Social Sciences. 15: 118–126.
  22. ^ Gaines, Drorit. "How Rejection Shapes Who We Are". Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  23. ^ "They love me, they love me not- and why it matters". Youtube.
  24. ^ Congratulations to APA Award Winners. "Award Winners". APA. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  25. ^ "Congratulations to Recipients of the Division 52 awards for 2017! Outstanding International Psyhologist Awards". APA 2017 Awards. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  26. ^ "Division 52 International Mentoring Award Recipients". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
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  29. ^ Machado, M.; Machado, F. (Eds.) (2015). New paths for acceptance: Opening awareness in interpersonal acceptance-rejection. Boca Raton,FL: BrownWalker Press.
  30. ^ Ripoll-Nunez, K.; Comunian, A.L.; Brown, C.M. (Eds.) (2012). Expanding horizons: Current research on interpersonal acceptance. Boca Raton,FL: BrownWalker Press.
  31. ^ Ripoll-Núñez, K. (2009). "Loving Relationships: A Key to a Better World". Interpersonal Acceptance. 1 (3).