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I Love You, Don't Hurt Me: The Effect of Relationship Type on Pain Sensitivity After Ostracism

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dc.contributor.advisor Sternberg, Wendy Banerji, Trina 2013-12-12T14:26:43Z 2013-12-12T14:26:43Z 2009
dc.description.abstract The present study sought to expand the existing literature on the shared pathway of social and physical pain. Because of the shared pathway and necessity of each type of pain, it was predicted that activation of social pain could sensitize physical pain sensitivity. The current study posits that (1) experiencing ostracism should increase physical pain sensitivity, (2) the relationship one has with the source of social rejection can mediate emotional reactions and subsequent physical pain, (3) personality variables can affect reactions to ostracism and subsequent physical pain, and (4) individual perceptions of relationship can affect reactions to ostracism and subsequent physical pain. Ten dyads in romantic partner, friend, and stranger conditions were individually tested for baseline pain sensitivity and asked to fill out relationship measures including commitment and individual attachment style. In a second session, dyads played a ball-tossing game with each other (and two confederates) that was designed to elicit feelings of ostracism. Pain tests were administered immediately after the manipulation. A separate group of control subjects were also tested for pain but experienced inclusion during the ball-tossing game. Results indicated that those in all types of relationships had decreased pain sensitivity after the ostracism manipulation. Males in romantic relationships experienced an increase in pain sensitivity post manipulation. Neither personality nor relationship variables mediated one's reaction to ostracism and subsequent pain sensitivity. Results suggested that ostracism may not elicit emotional distress but emotional numbing that leads to decreased pain sensitivity. Relationship to the source of the ostracism did affect emotional and physical reactions but further research is needed to clarify this relationship.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Psychology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Pain -- Physiological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Rejection (Psychology)
dc.subject.lcsh Interpersonal relations -- Psychological aspects
dc.title I Love You, Don't Hurt Me: The Effect of Relationship Type on Pain Sensitivity After Ostracism
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Haverford users only

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