Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychological Sciences

First Advisor

Kipling D. Williams

Committee Member 1

Ximena B. Arriaga

Committee Member 2

Janice R. Kelly


One behavioral consequence of ostracism is to seek and strengthen connections with others. The current research tests whether a brief episode of ostracism by strangers strengthens targeted individuals' perceptions of their romantic relationship and increases their desire to be closer to their partner. In Study 1a and Study 1b, participants were either included or ostracized by strangers in a Cyberball game, and then completed relationship evaluation measures. Interactions of ostracism and gender emerged, suggesting that as hypothesized, ostracized women tended to evaluate their relationships more positively than included women. However, men who were ostracized tended to evaluate their relationships less positively than those who were included. Study 2 followed similar procedure, and explored control and belonging need-threat and mood as potential mediators, as well as the value of these needs and endorsement of social goals (agentic vs. communal) that may account for this divergent effect of ostracism and gender on relationship evaluations. The Gender X Ostracism interaction was not replicated; however, mediation analyses revealed that threatened-control led ostracized women to perceive their relationship as closer and to desire closeness, and negative mood led ostracized men to be less satisfied with their relationships.