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The Moderating Effect of In-group Ostracism on Needs Threat: A gendered social identity increases effects of Cyberball-ostracism

Scanlon (Hill), Bridget E (2016) The Moderating Effect of In-group Ostracism on Needs Threat: A gendered social identity increases effects of Cyberball-ostracism. University of West London. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Extant literature fails to converge on the possible moderating factors capable of enhancing or reducing the powerfully aversive experience of being ostracised. In particular, in-group-out-group distinctions have been shown in some studies to moderate ostracism-distress, while most report no moderating effect. Accordingly, the present study proposes that ostracism administered by a source group (female) that is central to a person’s social identity, will be more impactful than ostracism administered by a source group that is not. In the present study, a sample of 81 university students (81 female) were included or ostracised by either an in-group (female) or out-group (male) ostracism source, on a between-subjects basis, while playing the game, Cyberball. Participants were required to report how they felt while playing Cyberball to determine mood affect, and perceived threat to fundamental needs (belonging, self- esteem, meaningful existence, and control), as well as providing a self-report indicating the importance of being a woman to their self-identity. Consistent with previous research, in-group ostracism moderated the level of mood and fundamental needs, that is; ostracism hurts more and social inclusion feels better when administered by in-group as opposed to out-group members. In a first point of difference, this effect was enhanced as a function of the extent to which the participant identified with the ostracism source. As a second point of difference, this effect was evidenced in the reflexive rather than reflective stage of a proposed temporal response of ostracism. These results are considered to make an important contribution to the ensuing debate for an inter-group vs. temporal perspective for ostracism response. Scope for future research is discussed, but recommendations for a between-subjects exploration of time (reflexive vs. reflective), as well as target gender (male vs. female), to explore possible extraneous variables is highlighted.

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