When destiny hurts: Implicit theories of relationships moderate aggressive responses to ostracism

Zhansheng Chen, C. Nathan DeWall, Kai Tak Poon, Ee Wen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The current research investigates the role of implicit theories of relationships in modulating aggressive responses to ostracism. Three studies tested whether destiny beliefs (that potential relationships are either fundamentally compatible or not) predispose people to behave aggressively in the wake of ostracism. In Study 1, individual differences in destiny beliefs moderated the relationship between ostracism and aggressive affect. Two additional studies showed that manipulated destiny beliefs (vs. growth beliefs) caused ostracized participants to blast a provocateur with aversive noise (Study 2) and to give a destructive job candidate evaluation to a stranger (Study 3). These results highlight the significance of implicit theories in understanding risk factors for ostracism-related aggression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1036
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grant Council's General Research Fund (to Chen and DeWall HKU742411H ), HKU Seed Funding Programme , and a grant from the National Science Foundation ( BCS-1104118 to DeWall). The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the GRF or NSF.


  • Aggression
  • Destiny beliefs
  • Implicit theories of relationships
  • Ostracism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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