Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Marc Karver, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jack Darkes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edelyn Verona, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tiina Ojanen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rita DeBate, Ph.D.


emotional responding, negative stimuli, social interaction, moderators


The examination of social exclusion and its impact on future emotional responding may prove to be a fruitful area of research in the prevention of suicide. Additionally, there may be other factors (such as the experience of psychological pain and rumination) that may influence how one responds to social exclusion. However, little research has explored individual differences in reactions to social exclusion. As such, the present study explored how social exclusion influences emotional responding to other environmental stimuli, as well as examining how a history of psychological pain and rumination affected how one responds to social exclusion. 503 undergraduate students at the University of South Florida completed a survey on their history of psychological pain and tendency to ruminate about stressful experiences, then were randomized to either an inclusion or an exclusion condition of a social exclusion paradigm (Cyberball) and rated the intensity of their emotional arousal towards negative, non-interpersonal related images. It was hypothesized that being socially excluded would not only increase negative affect but lead to increased emotional arousal towards other negative stimuli. Additionally, it was hypothesized that a history of psychological pain, along with a tendency to ruminate would moderate one’s immediate reaction to social exclusion and one’s emotional arousal towards negative stimuli following exclusion. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), a relationship between social exclusion and negative affect and negative affect and emotional arousal was observed, but no significant moderation effects emerged. Implications of this research and suggestions for future research will be discussed.