We know that being around more successful others can threaten positive self-views and self-esteem. We also know that people are motivated to maintain high self-esteem. The present article outlines how threats to self-views, created by upward comparisons to more successful others, motivate and influence behavioral responses. In particular, it suggests that the degree to which subsequent performance situations provide an opportunity to repair threatened self-views determine whether responses are positive or negative. When performance tasks provide an opportunity to repair self-views, and repair seems likely, positive responses such as increased performance are likely to occur. When performance tasks do not provide an opportunity and repair seems unlikely, negative responses such as undermining others and withdrawing effort are likely to occur. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as future directions are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/camille_johnson/3/