Cultural estrangement and social comparison: the effect of cultural estrangement and comparison target on hostility in upward social comparisons
The present study investigated the effect of comparison target and level of cultural estrangement on hostility in upward social comparisons. These influences were examined using 59 undergraduate participants at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest. Participants' levels of cultural estrangement, or discrepancy between one's personal values and opinions and those of most Americans, were assessed with the Cultural Estrangement Inventory (CEI). After completing the CEI participants were exposed to an upward social comparison in which they were told either a non-culturally estranged or a culturally estranged individual performed better than them on a task. The researcher hypothesized that higher levels of cultural estrangement would lead to more hostility in upward comparisons, and closer similarity to the comparison target along the lines of level of cultural estrangement would lead to less hostility. Results found no significant effect of cultural estrangement and comparison target on hostility scores. Explanations as to why there was no significant difference in hostility scores between the Misfit and Atypical subgroups focus on the potential role variability in social support and estrangement from primary social groups contribute to levels of alienation in each subgroup.