Better to Unfriend You!: The Effect of Ostracism and Group Membership on Unfriending Behavior


A growing body of literature has revealed that there are various reasons for unfriending in SNSs (Social Network Sites) such as posting too frequently and polarizing topics, making crude comments, and getting minimal contact. The present study aims at the effect of ostracism and group membership on unfriending behavior in SNSs. We used Cyberball Paradigm to manipulate ostracism in the study and conducted this study online in Psytoolkit. All participants were sent a link to participate. The research sample consisted of 240 participants (164 female, 76 male) aged between 18-63. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions in which they were exposed to ostracism or inclusion. Afterward, participants were asked to complete several filler questions about the game, manipulation check questions, and The Need Threat Scale. Finally, participants reacted to a person posting 15 different sexist images in terms of unfriending or ignoring the person. According to Chi- Square analyses for each image, the ostracized participants compared to the included participants are more likely to unfriend than ignore the target person. Also, we did not find a significant difference between participants’ gender in terms of reaction to the target person posting those images. These findings contribute to our understanding of unfriending in the scope of ostracism and group membership for future research. One of the limitations is the generalizability of the obtained results because the sample with only university students. Further studies on unfriending might investigate cultural factors and demographic characteristics of the target person.

Author Information
Yasemin Abayhan, Hacettepe University, Turkey
Mehmet Can Sevinçli, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2023
Stream: General Psychology

This paper is part of the ACP2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Abayhan Y., & Sevinçli M. (2023) Better to Unfriend You!: The Effect of Ostracism and Group Membership on Unfriending Behavior ISSN: 2187-4743 – The Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences 2023 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon