Exclusion and the True Self: The Effects of Social Exclusion on State Authenticity
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Aspden, Kimberley Rose
Social exclusion poses a great threat towards the need for belonging and impacts individuals’ self-insight and self-perception. The present study was conducted to test whether social exclusion negatively impacts a person’s state authenticity. Participants’ trait authenticity was measured to examine whether it moderates the effect exclusion on one’s state authenticity. The study used a betweens subjects design where participants were randomly assigned to an exclusion or control condition. Social exclusion was manipulated by informing individuals that another participant did not want to take part in an interaction task with them after reading their personal responses. The control group were informed that the other participant had somewhere else to be so were unavailable to take part in the interaction task. Participant’s state authenticity was measured using Wood, Linley, Maltby, Baliousis & Joseph’s (2008) Authenticity Scale comprising of 3 authenticity subscales: authentic living; accepting external influence and self-alienation, in addition to Lenton’s (2008) circles measure of state authenticity. The results revealed that the effects of social exclusion on one’s state authenticity were moderated by a person’s trait authenticity. Excluded participants with low trait authenticity reported lower state authenticity with respect to authentic living and accepting external influence than participants with high trait authenticity, however also reported feeling less self-alienated than high trait authenticity individuals. Thus the hypothesis received only partial support. Control participants with high trait authenticity reported higher state authenticity in all three subscales than participants with low trait authenticity. The results found no effect of exclusion on the circles measure of state authenticity. The effect of social exclusion on responses to state authenticity was not mediated by emotion, self-awareness, basic psychological needs or self-regulation.