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Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2013 Nov;17(4):355-70. doi: 10.1177/1088868313497999. Epub 2013 Aug 8.

Group marginalization: extending research on interpersonal rejection to small groups.

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  • 11U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA.


An extensive research literature has examined the reactions of individuals facing interpersonal rejection. Small groups can also be rejected, but current research tells us little about the experiences of groups and their members directly. We integrate findings from various literatures to gain insight into shared rejection experiences and their outcomes. Of most practical importance, we argue that groups can be expected to react with more hostility than individuals when rejected. Four existing models that account for how group processes might alter such reactions are examined: a need-threat model, a rejection-identification model, a multimotive model, and a dual attitudes model. Aspects of these models are then integrated into a unifying framework that is useful for understanding hostile reactions to group marginalization. Implications for natural groups such as terrorist cells, school cliques, racial and ethnic minorities, and gangs are discussed.


aggression involving groups; group marginalization; ostracism; rejection; terrorist cells

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