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January 2022

Social comparison and the subjective well-being of cancer patients

Author(s): Buunk, B. P., Deruiter, J. H., Tempelaar, R., Vansonderen, E., Sanderman, R.

Journal/Book: Basic Appl Soc Psychol. 1996; 18: 10 Industrial Ave, Mahwah, NJ 07430-2262. Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc Inc. 453-468.

Abstract: Although cancer patients may suffer from more physical and psychological distress than healthy persons, they seem not to differ in subjective well-being In this article the influence of social comparison on the relation between physical distress and subjective well-being was examined among cancer patients. LISREL analyses provided support for the following model: First, the psychological distress that resulted from physical distress induced a need for comparison. This need, in turn, affected the frequency of downward comparison. Whereas psychological distress negatively affected perceptions of how well one was doing in comparison with others, selectively comparing downward had the reverse impact, contributing to a feeling of relative well-being Unexpectedly, these relative evaluations also seemed to be affected directly by the amount of physical distress patients experienced. Finally, although both the amount of physical and psychological distress had strong direct effects on subjective well-being, the perception of how well one was doing compared to most others explained an additional significant amount of variance. Interestingly, this model was also supported in a healthy control group, suggesting that we are dealing here with a general behavioral model that suggests that social comparison processes may contribute to well-being when well-being is threatened by stress.

Note: Article KI Vanderzee, Univ Groningen, Dept Psychol, Grote Kruisst 2-1, NL-9712 Ts Groningen, Netherlands


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