Social exclusion reduces happiness by creating expectations of future rejection
New paper accepted for publication by Hallgeir Sjåstad (SNF/FAIR Insight Team) in the journal Self and Identity
This paper is written in collaboration with Ming Zhang (Oxford University), Andreas Espegren Masvie (Oxford University) and Roy Baumeister (University of Queensland)
Social exclusion reduces happiness and well-being partly by creating a generalized expectation of future rejection and lack of belonging. An experiment (N = 709) using a guided imagination task found that social exclusion led to reduced feelings of happiness.
The effect was mediated by future expectations, as participants who imagined a vivid exclusion scenario thought they were more likely to experience actual rejection in the coming weeks.
A correlational survey focusing on individual differences found a similar pattern. People who felt a strong sense of general belonging thought they were less likely to experience future rejection than people with weak belonging, and they also reported higher levels of current happiness.