LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 12 (UPI) — Acceptance is a fundamental aspect of human relationships, but so is its counterpart — rejection — a U.S. researcher says.
Nathan DeWall, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky, says for proof that rejection, exclusion and acceptance are central to our lives, look no farther than the TV.
“If you turn on the television set, and watch any reality TV program, most of them are about rejection and acceptance,” DeWall says in a statement.
In a paper, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, DeWall and co-author Brad J. Bushman of Ohio State University review recent psychological research on social acceptance and rejection.
Humans have had to survive harsh environments but acceptance has an evil twin — rejection — and being rejected is bad for health, the paper says.
“People who feel isolated and lonely and excluded tend to have poor physical health,” DeWall says.
They don’t sleep well, their immune systems sputter and they even tend to die sooner than those surrounded by others who care about them.
Being excluded is also associated with poor mental health. People with depression may face exclusion more often because of the symptoms of their disorder and being rejected makes them more depressed, DeWall says.
This extends to society as well, excluded people often lash out against others. An analysis of 15 school shooters found that all but two had been socially rejected, the paper says.