You are here

Neuroendocrine and Affective Responses to Social Rejection and Acceptance by Peers

Title: Neuroendocrine and Affective Responses to Social Rejection and Acceptance by Peers.
Name(s): Blackhart, Ginette C., author
Tice, Dianne M., professor directing dissertation
Levenson, Cathy W., outside committee member
Baumeister, Roy F., committee member
Eckel, Lisa A., committee member
Joiner, Thomas E., Jr., committee member
Department of Psychology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2006
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Past research has shown that social rejection predicts a wide range of psychological problems, including the development of depression, anxiety, and aggressive behavior. In addition, rejection by others appears to maintain and exacerbate depressive symptoms for depressed individuals. Laboratory studies examining self-reports of negative affect and distress following social rejection, however, have reported inconsistent results. Furthermore, the mechanisms by which social rejection by peers causes depression and other psychological problems are currently unknown. This study therefore measured salivary cortisol before and after a social rejection/acceptance manipulation to objectively assess the psychological distress experienced subsequent to peer rejection. Specifically, this research aimed to 1) establish if salivary cortisol was elevated significantly in response to social rejection, and 2) ascertain if individual factors, such as gender, current depressive symptoms, defensiveness, self-esteem, self-enhancement, rejection sensitivity, the coping strategy employed following social rejection, social anxiety, fear of negative evaluation, and perceived belonging, moderated the relationship between social rejection and salivary cortisol. Results indicated that socially rejected participants exhibited significantly higher salivary cortisol concentrations than socially accepted and control participants following the social rejection/acceptance manipulation. Consistent with these results, rejected participants also reported significantly more negative and less positive affect than accepted and control participants immediately after the social rejection/acceptance manipulation. Defensiveness (or social desirability) moderated the relationship between social rejection and salivary cortisol, where rejected participants high in defensiveness/social desirability exhibited significantly lower salivary cortisol than rejected participants low in defensiveness/social desirability subsequent to the social rejection/acceptance manipulation. Defensiveness/social desirability did not, however, predict self-reported positive or negative affect following peer rejection. Self-reported depressive symptoms did not moderate the relationship between social rejection and salivary cortisol, but did interact with group assignment in predicting self-reported negative affect after peer rejection. This paper discusses the importance of these findings and future research directions.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-3700 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2006.
Date of Defense: May 11, 2006.
Keywords: Social Rejection, Social Acceptance, Ostracism, Salivary Cortisol, Defensiveness, Social Desirability
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Dianne M. Tice, Professor Directing Dissertation; Cathy W. Levenson, Outside Committee Member; Roy F. Baumeister, Committee Member; Lisa A. Eckel, Committee Member; Thomas E. Joiner, Jr., Committee Member.
Subject(s): Psychology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Blackhart, G. C. (2006). Neuroendocrine and Affective Responses to Social Rejection and Acceptance by Peers. Retrieved from