Term of Award

Spring 2001

Degree Name

Masters of Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

William McIntosh

Committee Member 1

Richard Rogers

Committee Member 2

Michael Nielson


Two distinct styles of self-enhancement were proposed, an Offensive Self-Enhancement Style which consisted of people exaggerating their abilities, putting themselves above others and being sensitive to failures, and a Defensive Self-Enhancement Style which consisted of acknowledgment of abilities in response to successes while buffering against failure. It was proposed that Offensive Self- Enhancement would be detrimental to happiness while Defensive Self-Enhancement would promote happiness. To test the theory, participants performed a word-arranging task and then were given either positive or negative false feedback. Participants' self-ratings of their ability at the task were analyzed and compared with various measures of happiness to determine whether the proposed self-enhancement styles exist. Results failed to support the existence of self-enhancement styles. Results were found to support a theory that accurate self-assessment acts to improve self-enhancement through motivated selection of behaviors and experiences.

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