Emotion Regulation Following Social Exclusion: Psychological and Behavioral Strategies

  • Paolo RivaEmail author


Several chapters of this book highlighted in detail the negative consequences of social exclusion at different stages of the human development and in different social contexts. This chapter considers how to reduce the negative consequences of social exclusion. Specifically, by integrating findings from the literature on reactions to social exclusion with contemporary models of emotion regulation, it considers the impact of deliberate forms of emotion regulation on responses to social exclusion. A two-dimensional model of emotion regulation to social exclusion is introduced. The first dimension (cognitive–behavioral) refers to whether the response is mainly directed through thoughts or behavior. The second dimension (approach–avoidance) refers to whether the response is directed towards the source of distress or away from it. Resulting regulatory strategies include suppression, distraction, focused attention, rumination, positive reappraisal, acceptance, physical exercise, alcohol, drugs, violent media, gambling, aggression, and seeking social connections. The chapter also considers future directions that research on emotion regulation should take in the context of social exclusion. Such directions include the role of individual differences, controlled versus automatic processes, intrinsic versus extrinsic emotion regulation, social and physical pain overlap, psychological flexibility, and chronic social exclusion. Overall, this chapter presents research testifying the key role of emotion regulation in reducing the negative outcomes of social exclusion. Some of the strategies reviewed here can be usefully adopted in a variety of settings (e.g., schools, workplaces, clinics) to help people who are experiencing instances of social exclusion adopt adaptive rather than maladaptive cognitions and behaviors.


Social exclusion Emotion regulation Suppression Distraction Focused attention Rumination Positive reappraisal Acceptance Aggression Social connections 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

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