Reactions to acceptance and rejection: Effects of level and sequence of relational evaluation


Journal Article

Two experiments examined the effects of various levels and sequences of acceptance and rejection on emotion, ratings of self and others, and behavior. In Experiment 1, participants who differed in agreeableness received one of five levels of acceptance or rejection feedback, believing that they either would or would not interact with the person who accepted or rejected them. In Experiment 2, participants who differed in rejection sensitivity received one of four patterns of feedback over time, reflecting constant acceptance, increasing acceptance, increasing rejection, or constant rejection. In both studies, rejection elicited greater anger, sadness, and hurt feelings than acceptance, as well as an increased tendency to aggress toward the rejector. In general, more extreme rejection did not lead to stronger reactions than mild rejection, but increasing rejection evoked more negative reactions than constant rejection. Agreeableness and rejection-sensitivity scores predicted participants' responses but did not moderate the effects of interpersonal acceptance and rejection. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Buckley, KE; Winkel, RE; Leary, MR

Published Date

  • January 1, 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 14 - 28

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1031

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0022-1031(03)00064-7

Citation Source

  • Scopus