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Divergent effects of warmth and competence social rejection: An explanation based on the need-threat model.

Based on the need-threat model, we hypothesized that "warmth rejection" threatens belongingness more than "competence rejection," whereas competence rejection threatens sense of efficacy more than warmth rejection. To restore threatened belongingness, warmth (vs. competence) rejection was predicted to result in higher affiliative responses. In contrast, to restore the threatened sense of efficacy, competence (vs. warmth) rejection would lead to higher self-focus. Across six studies, we found that the participants exhibited more affiliative responses after being rejected due to low warmth than due to low competence (Studies 1-6), whereas they became more self-focused after being rejected due to low competence than due to low warmth (Studies 3-6). Furthermore, the effect of warmth rejection on affiliation was mediated by perceived threat to belongingness (Studies 4-6), whereas the effect of competence rejection on self-focus was mediated by perceived threat to control and belongingness (Studies 4-6). The studies provided converging evidence that the effects of social rejection depend on the perception of why rejection occurs. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

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