A lasting sting: Examining the short-term and long-term effects of real-life group rejection
© The Author(s) 2017. Although many studies have examined the short-term effects of rejection in laboratory settings, few have investigated the impact of rejection over time or in real-world contexts. The university sorority recruitment process offers a unique opportunity to address these shortcomings. Women participating in sorority recruitment were surveyed directly before recruitment, directly after recruitment, and 3 months later. Rejected women experienced decreases in all indicators of well-being directly after recruitment and did not return to baseline on depressive symptoms, positive mental health, satisfaction with life, perceived belonging, or perceived social status 3 months later. Accepted women showed no long-term changes in well-being, with the exception that happiness and perceived social status increased from baseline. A comparison group of women who did not participate in sorority recruitment showed no significant long-term changes in well-being. Perceived belonging, but not social status, significantly mediated the long-term emotional effects of rejection. These results document that rejection experiences can have long-lasting effects.
Martin, JL; Smart Richman, L; Leary, MR
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