On March 9th, the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute, funded by the College of Liberal Arts by IIDEA Grant will be hosting a paper workshop. Carla Zimmerman will be presenting her paper “Confronting ostracism: The role of identity and social context.”
Confrontation – directly expressing displeasure with mistreatment – has been shown to have psychological benefits for those who choose to confront. However, the occurrence and benefits of confrontation have not been examined for ostracism – being ignored and excluded by others. Though considered a less harmful form of interpersonal mistreatment, ostracism has negative psychological and behavioral consequences for targets. The goal of this research is to examine factors that influence the likelihood of confronting ostracism – being ignored and excluded by others. Specifically, I examine how the ingroup or outgroup identity of ostracism sources influences the likelihood of confrontation by White and Hispanic targets. Results indicated that ingroup or outgroup status of sources alone does not influence the likelihood of confrontation. Rather, this was qualified by an interaction with the target’s racial identification. For White participants, the ingroup or outgroup status of the ostracism sources did not affect the likelihood of confrontation; however, Hispanic participants were significantly less likely to confront sources who appeared to be outgroup members (i.e., White confederates). These results illustrate the need to consider social context and identity when examining responses to and potential interventions for ostracism experiences.