روابط بین فراوانی مقایسه اجتماعی و وضوح درک از خود، عدم تحمل عدم اطمینان، اضطراب و افسردگی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|36943||2006||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||4621 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 41, Issue 1, July 2006, Pages 167–176
Abstract Previous work has highlighted the importance of uncertainty in motivating social comparison. We extended this approach by focusing on the frequency of social comparisons and four uncertainty-related constructs, namely, self-concept clarity, intolerance of uncertainty, anxiety, and depression. Participants were 166 undergraduates who completed measures for each construct, as well as measures of their own frequency of general, upward, and downward social comparisons. Initial correlational analyses indicated that higher self-concept clarity was related to a lower frequency of general and upward social comparisons; whereas higher intolerance of uncertainty was related to a higher frequency of general, upward, and downward social comparisons. Depression and anxiety were also related to increased general and upward comparisons. Of particular interest, however, were the findings associated with two path analyses. The first analysis indicated that when all four uncertainty-related constructs were considered together, intolerance of uncertainty emerged as the most important predictor of general, upward, and downward comparisons. In contrast, lower self-concept clarity and increased depression played a much more limited role, and anxiety was not a significant predictor. In turn, the second analysis showed that self-concept clarity and intolerance of uncertainty fully mediated the relationships between depression, anxiety, and general and upward social comparison.
1. Introduction Festinger (1954) proposed that individuals compare themselves with others when they are uncertain about their opinions and abilities, particularly when objective standards are lacking. Consistent with this proposal, researchers have shown that individuals who are more uncertain about various aspects of their lives, such as the perceived impact of government policies, their marriage, their job, or their causal understanding of events, are more likely to engage in social comparisons ( Buunk, 1995, Buunk et al., 1994 and Buunk and VanYeperen, 1991). Similarly, Weary, Marsh, and McCormick (1994) found that individuals who were less certain about their own judgments or opinions were more motivated to engage in social comparison. Furthermore, individuals who are lower in need for cognition and who have a reduced sense of mastery and control over their own lives have also been found to be more interested in engaging in social comparison ( Gibbons & Buunk, 1999). Across these different studies, uncertainty has been conceptualized in diverse ways, suggesting that further clarification of the potential relationships between uncertainty and social comparison would be informative and useful. Accordingly, we have conceptualized self-uncertainty in terms of several broad constructs that derive from other theoretical approaches and research literatures. We first considered the potential impact of overall level of uncertainty of the self-concept on the frequency of engaging in social comparisons. This facet of uncertainty was examined by utilizing the construct of self-concept clarity ( Campbell et al., 1996). In addition, we also considered the possible impact of an individual’s tolerance of their level of uncertainty on their reported frequency of social comparisons. This facet was examined by focusing on the construct of intolerance of uncertainty ( Freeston, Rheaume, Letarte, Dugas, & Ladouceur, 1994). Furthermore, we also considered uncertainty in terms of the construct of anxiety. Anxiety has often been conceptualized in terms of a heightened level of uncertainty, engendered by increased perceptions of future threat and harm (e.g., Dugas, Freeston, & Ladouceur, 1997). Finally, we also included consideration of depression on social comparisons, with a particular emphasis on the heightened levels of uncertainty that accompany depression ( Swallow & Kuiper, 1992). Self-concept clarity is defined as “the extent to which the contents of an individual’s self-concept (e.g., perceived personal attributes) are clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and temporally stable” (Campbell et al., 1996, p. 142). To illustrate further, one individual may have a high level of self-concept clarity, meaning she is relatively confident about the various aspects of her self-concept; whereas another individual may be low on self-concept clarity, meaning he is much less certain about the content and stability of his self-concept. When considered in light of Festinger’s (1954) original formulations of uncertainty, we proposed that higher levels of self-concept clarity would be related to lower levels of social comparison, as individuals who are more certain regarding their overall self-concept may feel much less compelled to compare themselves with others. Previous research has also not considered the possible role of intolerance of uncertainty on social comparison. Intolerance of uncertainty is defined as “a predisposition to react negatively to an uncertain event or situation, independent of its probability of occurrence and its associated consequences” (Ladouceur, Gosselin, & Dugas, 2000, p. 934). In other words, individuals who are high in intolerance of uncertainty would view uncertain and ambiguous situations as being highly aversive; whereas individuals who are low in intolerance of uncertainty would not view these same situations as being overly disturbing (Freeston et al., 1994). As such, we expected that if an individual is highly intolerant of uncertainty, they would compare themselves more often with others, in an attempt to reduce uncertainty. A further facet of uncertainty that has received only limited attention in the social comparison literature is anxiety. One study by Gibbons and Buunk (1999) found that higher levels of motivation to engage in social comparisons were related to higher levels of anxiety. In this regard, some theorists have proposed that anxiety primarily results from worry over uncertain and uncontrollable future events, along with an increased focus on concerns regarding self-evaluations and future social threats (Dugas et al., 1997 and Ladouceur et al., 2000). Of special interest is that individuals with higher levels of intolerance of uncertainty have also been found to display heightened levels of anxiety, worry, and depression (Freeston et al., 1994 and Ladouceur et al., 2000). This work suggests that the further examination of anxiety with respect to uncertainty and social comparisons is certainly warranted. In particular, we expected that heightened anxiety, with its enhanced levels of worry and uncertainty about future events, would motivate individuals to engage more often in social comparisons, in order to reduce their uncertainty level. Finally, we also included a measure of current depression level in our study. Depression was assessed for two reasons. Firstly, previous research has predominately examined relationships between social comparisons and depression. Thus, our inclusion of a depression measure allowed for direct comparison and extension of this prior work. Secondly, prior research has shown that individuals with higher depression levels are less certain about judgments regarding the cause of an event (Weary et al., 1994), their impressions of other individuals (Gleicher & Weary, 1991), and control over their own lives (Warren & McEachren, 1983). In turn, this heightened uncertainty may lead to depressed individuals engaging in more social comparisons (Gibbons & Buunk, 1999). Consistent with this proposal, Weary et al. (1994) found that individuals with higher levels of depression were more interested in making social comparisons than individuals with lower levels of depression, and attributed this difference to a heightened uncertainty resulting from more frequent exposure to uncontrollable life events. In a similar fashion, Hildebrand-Saints and Weary (1989) also found that individuals with higher levels of depression sought out more diagnostic information in an interview, and suggested this was due to their increased perceptions of lack of control and uncertainty. It is still unclear, however, whether individuals with higher levels of depression typically engage in more upward or downward comparisons than individuals with lower depression levels. Upward comparisons involve an interest in comparing with others who are ‘better’ in some way than oneself; whereas downward comparisons involve an interest in comparing with others who are somehow inferior or doing worse than oneself (Wood, 1989). Some researchers have found that individuals with higher levels of depression engage in more upward comparisons than individuals with lower levels of depression, as their increased negative affect makes comparisons that are congruent with their mood more accessible (Swallow and Kuiper, 1992 and Wood et al., 2000). It has further been suggested that by engaging in upward comparisons, depressives maintain and even exacerbate their negative self-views, as they are constantly exposed to comparison information regarding individuals who are performing better than themselves (Ahrens and Alloy, 1997 and Wood and Lockwood, 1999). In contrast, other researchers have found that individuals with higher levels of depression engage in more downward comparisons than individuals with lower levels of depression (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1993). According to this self-enhancement approach, individuals with higher levels of depression engage in downward social comparisons in order to decrease negative affect and increase self-esteem, by comparing themselves with ‘worse off’ others. Hence, we also attempted to clarify this social comparison directional issue in the present study, not only for depression level, but also for the remaining constructs of anxiety, self-concept clarity, and intolerance of uncertainty. Previous work has demonstrated relationships between self-concept clarity and depression (Campbell et al., 1996), and intolerance of uncertainty and anxiety (Freeston et al., 1994). In addition, higher levels of both anxiety and depression have been linked to various aspects of self-uncertainty (e.g., Weary et al., 1994). When taken together, these findings suggest that the relationships that have been found between depression, anxiety, and social comparison may be due to the heightened levels of uncertainty that depressed and anxious individuals possess. Accordingly, the present study had two major goals. First, we wished to determine both the individual and unique contributions of the four uncertainty-related constructs to social comparison frequencies. This was accomplished initially via an examination of the simple correlations between each uncertainty construct and social comparisons, followed by a path analysis which included all four constructs (self-concept clarity, intolerance of uncertainty, anxiety, and depression) as simultaneous predictors of social comparison frequencies. Secondly, we wished to explore the degree to which self-concept clarity and intolerance of uncertainty may mediate the relationships between depression, anxiety, and social comparisons. Thus, a second path analysis was conducted to determine whether depression and anxiety show direct relationships with social comparison, or whether they were indirectly related to social comparison through the mediational effect of self-concept clarity and intolerance of uncertainty.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
3. Results Descriptive statistics, intercorrelations, and Cronbach alphas for all measures are presented in Table 1. For the four uncertainty constructs (SCC, IUS, CES-D, and CCAS), our means and standard deviations are comparable to those reported in other studies. Also as expected, the four uncertainty-related constructs were significantly intercorrelated in the expected directions. Turning to the social comparison measures, the highest frequencies were observed for general comparisons (COMPG), followed by upward and then downward comparisons (COMPU and COMPD). All three comparison measures were significantly intercorrelated, but with the general and upward frequencies showing the most substantive association. The simple correlations between self-concept clarity (SCC), intolerance of uncertainty (IUS) and social comparisons revealed that higher levels of self-concept clarity were related to a lower frequency of general (COMPG) and upward (COMPU) social comparisons; whereas higher levels of intolerance of uncertainty were related to a higher frequency of general, upward, and downward (COMPD) comparisons. In addition, the simple correlations between anxiety (CCAS), depression (CES-D) and social comparisons showed that higher levels of anxiety and depression were related to a higher frequency of general and upward, but not downward, social comparisons. In order to evaluate the potential unique contribution of the four uncertainty-related constructs to social comparison, a path analysis was conducted using the EQS program (Bentler, 1995). The mean-centered values for self-concept clarity (SCC), intolerance of uncertainty (IUS), anxiety (CCAS), and depression (CES-D) served simultaneously as predictors, while each of the social comparison frequency measures served simultaneously as the criterion. The four predictors were allowed to intercorrelate, as were the three criterion variables. The standardized path coefficients for this first analysis are presented in Table 2. Self-concept clarity (SCC) and intolerance of uncertainty (IUS) were the only two significant predictors of general social comparison frequency (COMPG), accounting for a total of 24% of the variance. Intolerance of uncertainty (IUS) also significantly predicted upward social comparison frequency (COMPU), whereas depression (CES-D) served as a marginally significant predictor, with both predictors accounting for a total of 22% of the variance. Finally, only intolerance of uncertainty (IUS) served as a significant predictor of downward social comparison frequency (COMPD), accounting for 4% of the variance. Table 2. Summary of first path analysis: SCC, IUS, CCAS, and CES-D predicting COMPG, COMPU, and COMPD Predictor variables Criterion variables COMPG COMPU COMPD SCC −.28⁎⁎ −.14 −.02 IUS .23⁎ .29⁎⁎ .22⁎ CCAS .11 −.00 −.02 CES-D −.01 .17† −.04 Values are Standardized Path Coefficients. SCC = Self-Concept Clarity, IUS = Intolerance of Uncertainty, CES-D = Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, CCAS = Costello–Comrey Anxiety Scale, COMPG = General Comparison Frequency, COMPU = Upward Comparison Frequency, COMPD = Downward Comparison Frequency. ⁎ p < .05. ⁎⁎ p < .01. † p < .10. Table options In order to test whether self-concept clarity (SCC) and intolerance of uncertainty (IUS) mediate the relationship between depression (CES-D), anxiety (CCAS), and social comparison (COMPG, COMPU, COMPD), a second path analysis was conducted in which depression and anxiety were set to predict intolerance of uncertainty and self-concept clarity, as well as predicting social comparison; with intolerance of uncertainty and self-concept clarity also predicting social comparison. In order to test for mediation, a number of conditions must be met (Baron & Kenny, 1986). First, depression and anxiety need to be significantly correlated with social comparison, a condition which is met for general and upward, but not downward, social comparison frequency (see Table 1), making general and upward comparison the only frequencies to consider for this analysis. Depression and anxiety must also be significantly correlated with self-concept clarity and intolerance of uncertainty (the mediators), a condition which is also met (see Table 1). In addition, self-concept clarity and intolerance of uncertainty must predict social comparison, controlling for depression and anxiety. According to Sobel’s test for determining the significance of a product path (see Baron & Kenny, 1986), the indirect effects of depression and anxiety on general (z = 3.27, p < .01, and z = 3.35, p < .01, respectively) and upward (z = 2.40, p < .05, and z = 3.38, p < .01, respectively) social comparison were significant. Thus, the findings from this second path analysis indicated that self-concept clarity and intolerance of uncertainty fully mediated the relation between depression, anxiety, and general and upward social comparison.