Interdependent self-construal moderates coping with (but not the initial pain of) ostracism


  • These data were collected by the first author from three universities in Beijing, China (University of Science & Technology Beijing, China Agricultural University, Beijing Forest University). Thanks to Magin Kebert for her valuable comments on an earlier draft.


Ostracism – being excluded and ignored – can cause psychological distress. There has been little research examining how a person's concept of self might influence the effects of ostracism. In the current study, we sought to examine the effect of self-construal on the distress created by ostracism. Specifically, we assessed the potential moderating effects of self-construal on both the initial distress of ostracism and the coping process. Participants, recruited in China, completed a self-construal measure and were either included or ostracized in an online ball-tossing game. They then reported need-satisfaction both immediately following the game and after a filler task. Interdependent self-construal facilitated participants' recovery from some of the negative effects of ostracism, but did not have an impact on the initial pain.