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We examined if perceiving oneself as burdensome, due to performing poorly in a group, can lead to feelings associated with ostracism (being excluded and ignored), without actually being ostracized. Participants completed a typing game (Study 1) or solved Remote Associates Test (Study 2) items where they performed worse, equal, or better than the group. To isolate the influence of burdensomeness, participants were consistently selected by computerized agents to play. In each study, worse performers experienced greater perceptions of being burdensome, less basic need satisfaction, increased negative mood, and greater anticipation of being excluded from a future group task compared to equal or better performers. Additionally, despite reporting being included, poor performers experienced social pain. These results suggest that although feeling burdensome can lead to outcomes related to ostracism, feeling burdensome is a distinct experience. Consequently, feeling burdensome may be one of many aversive social experiences leading to decreased social well-being.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wirth, J.H., Sacco, D.F., Brown, M., and Okdie, B.M. (2021). “I hate to be a burden!”: Experiencing feelings associated with ostracism due to one’s poor performance burdening the group. European Journal of Social Psychology, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

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European Journal of Social Psychology





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Available for download on Thursday, February 02, 2023

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