Resilience to Ostracism: A Qualitative Inquiry

Daniel Waldeck, Ian Tyndall, Nik Chmiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
169 Downloads (Pure)


Ostracism is a painful event, which may lead to prolonged psychological distress. However, little is known about the mechanisms which may help people recover from such events. This study explored how people who are not chronically ostracised describe processing and coping with ostracism. Using a qualitative methodology, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 participants (age group: 18-59; 12 female) from different occupational status groups. Thematic analyses revealed four major themes within the data: participants' immediate reaction to ostracism (“reflex”), subsequent reflections (“reflection”), efforts to manage their behaviour (“regulation”), and capacities to cope following ostracism (“adjustment”). Intensity emerged as a superordinate theme whereby the closer the ostraciser was to the participant, the greater the negative impact. The findings suggested that although most people will experience pain or stress following ostracism, it is how such events are reflected upon and managed that will determine when it leads to distress. Furthermore, some people may be resilient to ostracism. However, this resistance may weaken if the ostraciser(s) are considered close to the person.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)1646-1670
Number of pages25
JournalThe Qualitative Report
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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  • ostracism
  • resilience
  • attribution
  • psychological flexibility
  • qualitative research methodology
  • thematic analysis
  • coping


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