Social rejection happens when one individual is purposely excluded from social situations. This rejection can be performed by either an individual or a group of people, and it can be either active or passive in nature. There have been numerous studies centered around social rejection. These studies have shown that this type of rejection can lead to variety of negative psychological effects on the sufferer, including aggression and withdrawal.
Humans are social creatures, by nature, and rejection is almost always emotionally painful. Some rejection is normal in life, and just about everyone has experienced, or will experience, some sort of social exclusion during his lifetime. Repeated rejection, malicious or otherwise, can have a negative impact on a person. These rejections can be much more devastating for a highly sensitive individual, or if fitting in with a certain person or group is extremely important to the shunned person.
Active social rejection can manifest itself in such forms as bullying or teasing. Passive rejection, on the other hand, can be a bit harder to recognize, and it can include ignoring a certain individual and excluding him from certain activities. Although passive rejection may seem to be less cruel, it can have effects that are just as detrimental.
Psychologists have, over the years, tried to figure out who exactly is most likely to suffer from social rejection. Although it is not an exact science and all situations differ, they have discovered that those who are considered different from so-called normal people are more likely to be the social outcasts. Shy or aggressive people are thought to be targeted more for rejection, as these personality traits tend to be slightly unusual.
There have been a number of studies performed regarding the effects of social rejection. Some results have shown that children who are socially rejected are more likely to get poor grades, drop out of school, have low self-esteem, or develop a substance abuse problem. It has also been suggested that these individuals often become more and more aggressive or withdrawn.
One theory of social rejection is that it can become a vicious cycle. For example, if the social outcast is a shy person by nature, repeated rejection could most likely cause him to become more withdrawn. This, in turn, will often cause his peers to reject him more, he could possibly become more withdrawn, and so on.
The same is true with aggressive personalities. If a person is aggressive by nature, there is a good chance that he will become the social reject. These actions by his peers could possibly make him become even more aggressive. This cycle can go on for a person's entire life, and breaking the cycle can be quite difficult.