Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 36–44

Frequent Social Comparisons and Destructive Emotions and Behaviors: The Dark Side of Social Comparisons

  • Judith B. White
  • Ellen J. Langer
  • Leeat Yariv
  • John C. WelchIV

DOI: 10.1007/s10804-006-9005-0

Cite this article as:
White, J.B., Langer, E.J., Yariv, L. et al. J Adult Dev (2006) 13: 36. doi:10.1007/s10804-006-9005-0

Social comparisons may seem to serve several positive functions, including self-enhancement. Frequent social comparisons, however, have a dark side. Two studies examined the relationship between frequent social comparisons and destructive emotions and behaviors. In Study 1, people who said they made frequent social comparisons were more likely to experience envy, guilt, regret, and defensiveness, and to lie, blame others, and to have unmet cravings. In Study 2, police officers who said they made frequent social comparisons were more likely to show ingroup bias and to be less satisfied with their jobs. The dark side of frequent social comparisons was not associated with self-esteem. Results are discussed in terms of the role of individual differences in social comparison processes.


social comparison styles well-being self-esteem. 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith B. White
    • 1
  • Ellen J. Langer
    • 2
  • Leeat Yariv
    • 3
  • John C. WelchIV
    • 4
  1. 1.Tuck School of BusinessDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA

Personalised recommendations