Social and Behavioral Sciences


Ostracism affects people of all ages at one point or another, and can have some very negative effects. There have been conflicting studies (O' Reilly, Robinson, Berdahl, & Banki, 2015; Molden, Lucas, Gardner, Dean, & Knowles, 2009) about whether or not people seek social reengagement after being ostracized. We argue that the difference is due to difference in the acute and chronic forms of ostracism. We hypothesize that chronic ostracism elicits social disengagement and potentially more socially conflicting behavior whereas those who face acute ostracism are more likely to socially reengage to try to achieve the social contact they missed out on. The current study also explored whether there are differences in mood and coping strategies after experiencing different types of ostracism. Participants read a workplace scenario and then answered multiple questionnaires on mood, social engagement, and coping strategies. No differences were found in social engagement between chronic ostracism and acute ostracism. There were also no significant differences between acute and chronic ostracism in terms of anger and depression, although some effects emerged for other emotional states. In general, the effects that primarily emerged were between acceptance and the different types of exclusion. Directions for future research are discussed.