Research in Clinical Psychology: Social Exclusion and Psychological Disorders

  • Klint Fung
  • Colin Xu
  • Brianne L. Glazier
  • Carly A. Parsons
  • Lynn E. AldenEmail author


In this chapter, we review empirical studies that examine the link between social exclusion and a variety of DSM-5 diagnostic categories. The review focuses on longitudinal and experimental studies so as to draw more definitive conclusions about the extent to which exclusion is a vulnerability factor for the development of these disorders. This research reveals that the effects of exclusion are wide-spread and may facilitate the development and maintenance of most adult mental disorders. For certain disorders, such as social anxiety disorder, depression, and borderline personality disorder, symptoms may in turn elicit exclusion, forming an interpersonal cycle that perpetuates the psychopathology. In light of parallels in the patterns observed in the various clinical domains, we propose that social exclusion may be best viewed as a transdiagnostic risk factor. Accordingly, we propose several transdiagnostic factors that may explain both the shared and the specific effects of exclusion in the context of traditional diagnostic labels.


Psychological disorders Interpersonal cycle Transdiagnostic risk factor 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klint Fung
    • 1
  • Colin Xu
    • 1
  • Brianne L. Glazier
    • 1
  • Carly A. Parsons
    • 1
  • Lynn E. Alden
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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