social psychology theory and research

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social psychology theory and research

explain how you might mitigate or resist the deleterious impact of social comparison as discussed. Support your response with references to social psychology theory and research.


People compare themselves to others for a variety of reasons, such as aspirations for excellence or increasing self-esteem. The former is called upward social comparison, where people look at those who are regarded as better for inspiration (Aronson et al., 2019). The latter, known as downward social comparison, is when people compare themselves with others who might be less fortunate (Aronson et al., 2019). This comparison can increase self-esteem and self-confidence (Aronson et al., 2019).

Unfortunately, when a person is trying to feel better, idealized images may negatively impact the goal of higher self-esteem. It creates an unachievable standard of perfection, resulting in a more critical self-concept (Laker & Waller, 2021). However, downward comparison does not necessarily create a more positive self-concept (Laker & Waller, 2021). In fact, one study found that both upward and downward comparisons were correlated with higher levels of anxiety (Laker & Waller, 2021). That study had primarily Caucasian participants but did have other races, implying that the impact is similar across cultures (Laker & Waller, 2021). It seems that the impact would primarily rely on the importance of physical appearance in one’s culture and what media images feature regarding the idealization of attractiveness