, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 101-111

Coping with Rejection: Derogating Those Who Choose Us Last

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Interpersonal rejection poses a threat to people's identities as competent, desirable individuals. This study examined the possibility that people buffer themselves against the implications of rejection by derogating those who reject them and by concluding that the rejector did not know them well. Participants were led to believe that a team captain had selected them either first or last for a laboratory team, then rated the captain and indicated how well he or she knew them. Results showed that, compared to those who were selected first for the team, participants who were selected last rated the team captains less positively, were less interested in having them as friends, and indicated that the captains knew them less well. Mediational analyses suggested that ratings of the captains were mediated by perceived rejection and that derogation helped to maintain participants' positive affect following rejection.