Rejecting another pains the self: The impact of perceived future rejection

Zhansheng CHEN, Kai Tak POON, Michael J. BERNSTEIN, Fei TENG

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30 Citations (Scopus)


The current investigation examined whether people would experience a higher level of pain after rejecting another person, especially for those high in evaluative concern, through increased perceptions of future rejection. Three experiments provide converging support to these predictions. After reliving a past rejecting experience (Experiments 1 and 2) and concurrently rejecting another person (Experiment 3), the source of rejection experienced a higher level of pain than participants in the control conditions. We also found that evaluative concern, either primed (Experiment 2) or measured (Experiment 3) moderated the above effect, such that this effect was only observed among participants high in evaluative concern, but not among those low in evaluative concern. Moreover, perceived future rejection mediated the moderating effect of evaluative concern and rejecting another person on the levels of pain that people experience (Experiment 3). These findings contribute to the literature by showing a mechanism explaining why rejecting another person pains the self and who are more susceptible to this influence. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-233
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Early online dateOct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


Chen, Z., Poon, K.-T., Bernstein, M. J., & Teng, F. (2014). Rejecting another pains the self: The impact of perceived future rejection. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 50, 225-233. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2013.10.007


  • Rejection
  • Painful feeling
  • Evaluative concern
  • Fear of negative evaluation


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