One hundred sixty-four participants recounted situations in which their feelings had been hurt (victim accounts) or in which they had hurt another person's feelings (perpetrator accounts) and then completed a questionnaire. Hurt feelings were precipitated by events that connoted relational devaluation, and the victims' distress correlated strongly with feelings of rejection. Victims were typically hurt by people whom they knew well, suggesting that familiarity or closeness played a role. Analyses of the subjective experience revealed that hurt feelings are characterized by undifferentiated negative affect that is often accompanied by emotions such as anxiety and hostility. Victims' responses to the event were related to their attributions for the perpetrators' actions, and hurtful episodes typically had negative repercussions for the relationships between perpetrators and victims.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science