Stigma-Based Rejection and the Detection of Signs of Acceptance

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© 2015, The Author(s) 2015.After people experience social rejection, one tactic to restore a sense of belonging is to selectively attend to and readily perceive cues that connote acceptance. The multimotive model of responses to rejection suggests that contextual features of the rejection are important determinants of how people are motivated to respond. According to this model, when rejection is construed as pervasive and chronic, people will be less likely to adopt strategies that promote belonging. Across two studies, we found that chronic rejection—in the context of stigmatization—predicted a slower response time to smiling faces and less recognition of affiliation-related words as compared to a nonstigmatized control group. These results suggest that, unlike more transitory forms of rejection, stigmatization leads to slower detection of signs of acceptance. These responses may hinder belonging repair and thus have important negative implications for health and well-being.






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Richman, LS, J Martin and J Guadagno (2016). Stigma-Based Rejection and the Detection of Signs of Acceptance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(1). pp. 53–60. 10.1177/1948550615598376 Retrieved from

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Laura Smart Richman

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences

Dr. Richman's research broadly focuses on understanding factors that contribute to health disparities for disadvantaged groups. Some research areas include the role of social status, gentrification, and social network characteristics on health behaviors and outcomes. 

Click here for .pdf links to my publications

Areas of expertise: Health Behavior and Health Measurement

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