The bi‐dimensional rejection taxonomy: Organizing responses to interpersonal rejection along antisocial–prosocial and engaged–disengaged dimensions


Responses to interpersonal rejection vary widely in form and function. Existing theories of interpersonal rejection have exclusively focused on organizing these responses on a single antisocial–prosocial dimension. Accumulating evidence suggests a gap in this approach: Variability in social responses to rejection cannot solely be explained by the antisocial–prosocial dimension alone. To fill this gap, we propose the bi‐dimensional rejection taxonomy, consisting of the antisocial–prosocial x‐axis and engaged–disengaged y‐axis, a novel contribution to the literature. We demonstrate that both the x‐ and y‐axes are necessary for understanding interpersonal responses to rejection and avoiding erroneous conclusions. We also show how this new framework allows researchers to generate more nuanced and accurate hypotheses about how people respond when rejected. We further demonstrate how existing research about individual differences and situational factors that predict responses to rejection can be viewed in a new light within the bi‐dimensional rejection taxonomy. We conclude by suggesting how the taxonomy inspires innovative questions for future research, including understanding spontaneous responses and neurophysiological markers. The preprint of this paper is available at

Social and Personality Psychology Compass