Ostracism is known to cause psychological distress; however, it remains unclear why ostracism evokes this response. Two experiments tested empirically whether fear of death mediates ostracism distress (mood) and whether marital status moderates this role. A total of 345 participants played Cyberball with two other ostensible players. After the game, accessibility of death-related thoughts was assessed by a word completion task, and a mood questionnaire was used to measure their distress. Death thoughts fully mediated ostracism distress. Marital status moderated this mediation effect in that no moderation was observed in married participants, suggesting that marriage may buffer death anxiety. The discussion centers on the ways in which these findings contribute to the ostracism and terror management literature by providing empirical evidence that death thoughts mediate ostracism distress, and the moderating effects of marriage on this mediation effect.
Motivation and Emotion – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 28, 2018
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