Social Pain

Terry K. Borsook and Geoff MacDonald

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Exclusion

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780195398700
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Social Pain

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The critical importance of social connectedness to human health and well-being is well established. There is now accumulating evidence that when a threat to this connectedness (i.e., social injury) occurs, a pain-like experience—social pain—can result. The first part of this chapter presents an up-to-date summary of animal and human brain imaging studies demonstrating an overlap in biological and neural systems mediating both social and physical pain. The second part reviews the literature examining the potential implications of this overlap, including the effect of reducing physical pain on social pain, the impact of social support on physical pain sensitivity, and the effects of socially painful events on physical pain perception. The chapter concludes with an exploration of what we believe are pressing issues and questions to be addressed in future research in the expanding field of social pain.

Keywords: exclusion; ostracism; pain; rejection; social

Article.  10978 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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