Research Reports - The psychological effects of ostracism following traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2013 Oct 16

Kelly M, McDonald S, Kellett D

Abstract Primary objective: This study examines the psychological effects of
ostracism. It was predicted that adults with brain injury would have an
attenuated response to an acute experience of ostracism. Research design: A
within-subject, fixed order design was used. The two conditions were ostracism
and inclusion. Methods and procedures: A group of 20 adults with severe traumatic
brain injury (TBI) were compared with a group of 19 matched control participants.
Both groups participated in a pseudo online ball tossing game, Cyberball. On one
occasion they were excluded from the game and on the following occasion they were
included fairly. Following each game they completed a self-report questionnaire
about their experience. Main outcomes and results: Persons with brain injury
self-reported negative psychological effects of ostracism including a lower sense
of belonging, self-esteem and meaningful existence, however, were affected to a
lesser degree than control participants [F(1,37) = 5.39, p = 0.026]. Persons with
brain injury also reported that their feelings were hurt to a lesser extent than
did control participants, t(37) = 2.10, p = 0.04. Conclusions: These results are
discussed in terms of the role of the negative experience of ostracism in
motivating and guiding behaviour to re-establish group membership to prevent
future social isolation.

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