Term of Award

Spring 1995

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

William McIntosh

Committee Member 1

John Murray

Committee Member 2

Richard Rogers

Abstract

People regard themselves in more favorable terms than they regard others. They especially tend to engage in such esteem-enhancing strategies when their self-esteem is threatened (Tesser & Cornell, 1991), as an attempt to maintain their level of self-esteem. The current study was conducted to investigate whether this tendency to positively distort one's self-perception compared to others could be attenuated by providing differential types of approval to act as self-esteem enhancement, thereby reducing the need for further self-esteem enhancing behavior. The Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960) was assumed to measure primarily need for social approval, and subjects with high need for approval scores were assumed to have a high need for social approval. Those with low need for approval scores were assumed to maintain their self-esteem through means other than external approval from others, in this case, internal approval. Results suggest that following approval, both low and high self-esteem individuals judge themselves better than others, and that social approval may be a somewhat more powerful form of self-esteem enhancement than is internal approval, particularly for persons with low self-esteem. The findings are discussed in terms of self-esteem maintenance.

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