Social Comparison in Everyday Life

Ladd Wheeler*, Kunitate Miyake

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

495 Citations (Scopus)


Ninety-four college students recorded details of their social comparisons over 2 weeks using a new instrument, the Rochester Social Comparison Record. Major results were (a) comparison direction varied with relationship with the target; (b) precomparison negative mood led more often to upward comparison than to downward comparison, supporting a selective affect-cognition priming model in which dysphoria primes negative thoughts about the self (Bower, 1991; Forgas, Bower, & Moylan, 1990) rather than a motivational self-enhancement model (Wills, 1981, 1991); (c) upward comparison decreased subjective well-being, whereas downward comparison increased it; and (d) high self-esteem individuals engaged in more self-enhancing comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-773
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1992
Externally publishedYes


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