Is Viewing Ostracism on Television Distressing?


distress, media, ostracism, rejection, social exclusion, television


Being ostracized can be a painful and distressing experience and can lead to subsequent aggression by the victim. However, it is unknown whether watching someone else be ostracized either in real life or on television is similarly distressing. The purpose of the current study was to examine what type of distress (if any) is induced after viewing ostracism on television. The study consisted of 50 participants, half who viewed a movie clip containing ostracism and half who viewed a control clip. Physiological and self-report data revealed that viewing ostracism was distressing to participants. In particular, participants who viewed the ostracism clip reported a lower sense of belonging, self esteem, and mood, and a greater increase in heart rate and skin conductivity than those who viewed the control clip.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S. M., Nelson, D. A., *Robinson, S. L., & *Gundersen, N. (2011). Is viewing ostracism on television distressing? Journal of Social Psychology, 151, 213-217.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The Journal of Social Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor