Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Meg Gerrard, Phd, John Christensen, PhD

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Previous research has shown that social exclusion has very negative effects on individuals, even when the excluders are out-group members. In fact, certain forms of out-group exclusion, such as racial discrimination, can have more detrimental effects on one’s health and well-being than being excluded by members of one’s in-group. The current study used Cyberball—a computer ball-tossing game—to examine the effects of gender-based exclusion (i.e., same vs. opposite sex) on willingness to engage in casual sex. Results showed exclusion by same-gender (in-group) players led to higher casual-sex willingness than did opposite-gender (out-group) exclusion. However, the effect was moderated by participant gender and relationship status: the effect was present for males and not females. Additionally, monogamous males had lower willingness after same-sex exclusion, whereas single males had higher willingness. These findings provide insight into the relations between group-based social exclusion and risky-sex behavior.

Major Advisor

Frederick X Gibbons, PhD