Rejection Elicits Emotional Reactions but Neither Causes Immediate Distress nor Lowers Self-Esteem: A Meta-Analytic Review of 192 Studies on Social Exclusion
Competing predictions about the effect of social exclusion were tested by meta-analyzing findings from studies of interpersonal rejection, ostracism, and similar procedures. Rejection appears to cause a significant shift toward a more negative emotional state. Typically, however, the result was an emotionally neutral state marked by low levels of both positive and negative affect. Acceptance caused a slight increase in positive mood and a moderate increase in self-esteem. Self-esteem among rejected persons was no different from neutral controls. These findings are discussed in terms of belongingness motivation, sociometer theory, affective numbing, and self-esteem defenses.
Blackhart, Ginette C.; Nelson, Brian C.; Knowles, Megan L.; and Baumeister, Roy F.. 2009. Rejection Elicits Emotional Reactions but Neither Causes Immediate Distress nor Lowers Self-Esteem: A Meta-Analytic Review of 192 Studies on Social Exclusion. Personality and Social Psychology Review. Vol.13(4). 269-309. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868309346065 PMID: 19770347 ISSN: 1088-8683