Experimental Evidence That Low Social Status is Most Toxic to Well-being When Internalized.

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What makes low social status toxic to well-being? To internalize social status is to believe the self is responsible for it. We hypothesized that the more people internalize low subjective social status, the more their basic psychological needs are thwarted. Experiment 1 randomly assigned participants to imagine themselves in low, middle, or high social status and assessed their subjective social status internalization by independent ratings. The more participants internalized low status, the more they reported their basic psychological needs were thwarted. This effect did not appear among their higher status counterparts. Experiment 2 replicated and extended these findings using a behavioral manipulation of subjective social status and a self-report measure of internalization. We discuss implications for basic and action research.





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Jackson, Benita, Laura Smart Richman, Onawa LaBelle, Madeleine S Lempereur and Jean M Twenge (2015). Experimental Evidence That Low Social Status is Most Toxic to Well-being When Internalized. Self Identity, 14(2). pp. 157–172. 10.1080/15298868.2014.965732 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11797.

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