Stress-responses to Ostracism: Examining Cortisol and Affective Reactivity to In-Person and Online Exclusion
Ostracism is associated with poor outcomes, but it is unclear if online versus in-person ostracism elicits divergent psychological and physiological responses. Participants (N = 54) were randomly assigned to online or in-person ostracism, and provided pre- and post-ostracism measures of affect, self-esteem, self-feelings, and salivary cortisol. No significant changes in negative affect, self-esteem, or self-feelings emerged, nor were there differences by ostracism condition. Both ostracism conditions decreased positive affect (stronger online) and lowered cortisol. Extending prior work, ostracism appears to reliably decrease positive affect (especially online) but may not be threatening to the self; moreover, ostracism may reliably elicit acute cortisol declines.
Filipkowski, K.B., Jones, D.R., Bernstein, M.J., and Smyth, J.M. (2021). Stress-responses to ostracism: Examining cortisol and affective reactivity to in-person and online exclusion. Journal of Health Psychology, 27(8). https://doi.org/10.1177/135910532110014