Ostracism in Real Life: Evidence That Ostracizing Others Has Costs, Even When It Feels Justified

Nicole Legate, Netta Weinstein, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An extensive literature on ostracism shows clear costs for targets; less clear is whether sources of ostracism also face costs. Further, most ostracism experiments fail to speak to ostracism in “real life.” Two studies informed by self-determination theory (SDT) tested whether ostracizers suffer in comparable ways to targets of ostracism in real-life experiences. Results of a diary study found both ostracizing and being ostracized related to worse psychological health because of thwarted psychological needs for autonomy and relatedness. A follow-up experiment found that ostracizing, even when it felt justified, yielded psychological costs, and all groups involved in ostracism suffered because of thwarted autonomy and relatedness. Findings provide evidence for SDT hypotheses concerning inherent costs of harming others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-238
Number of pages13
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

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