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Rejected by the Nation: The Electoral Defeat of Candidates Included in the Self Is Experienced as Personal Rejection


*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Steven G. Young, Department of Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, OH, 45056 [e-mail:].


The current research was designed to examine how the outcome of the 2008 United States presidential election would affect participants' feelings of being rejected. Specifically, we set out to test whether participants who favored the losing candidate would feel as if they had been personally rejected. Additionally, we were interested in whether these feelings of rejection would be predicted by the extent to which participants included the major party candidates in their own self-representation, as measured with the Inclusion of Other in the Self (IOS) scale. We find that conservative participants who included John McCain in the self reported feeling less satisfaction of their basic needs (a composite of belonging, self-esteem, belief in a meaningful existence, and sense of control), compared with conservative participants low in McCain IOS, and these effects are independent of mood. Applied and theoretical implications of these results are discussed.