The anticipated social cost of disclosing a rejection experience

Erdem O. Meral, Yvette Osch, Dongning Ren, Eric Dijk, Ilja van Beest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Social rejection is a negative experience. Disclosing this experience to others may be beneficial for the target but may also entail costs if the audience reacts negatively. Across five pre-registered studies (N = 1120) we investigated how people may feel an urge to disclose a certain hypothetical rejection experience, however, depending on anticipated costs and benefits, may be reluctant to do so. The results reveal that: when considering disclosing this rejection experience (a) targets anticipate social costs rather than benefits, and audiences indeed devalue such targets who disclose that they were rejected; (b) targets feel the urge to talk about this experience yet feel reluctant to do so; and (c) targets see disclosing to a close other as less risky hence mitigating the conflicting urge and reluctance to talk. These findings suggest that people view disclosing a rejection experience as risky and perhaps not as the best coping strategy.
Keywords: rejection, disclosure, social-sharing, cost, benefit, urge, reluctance
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Rejection
  • Disclosure
  • Social-sharing
  • Cost
  • Benefit
  • Urge
  • Reluctance


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