Unrealistic view of self can harm teen relationships

Posted on November 14, 2014

These unrealistic views, a new study of eighth-graders finds, damage the child’s relationship with others in the classroom: The more one student feels unrealistically superior to another, the less the two students like each other.

Rentzsch and her colleague Michela Schröder-Abé, Ph.D., decided to take a closer look at how such self-enhancement affects relationships, so they turned to the eighth-grade classroom. In this setting, they measured the differences between actual academic performance, students’ perceptions of their performance, and social popularity. Importantly, they conducted the analysis at two different social levels: “habitual,” the way people act in general; and “relationship,” the way someone acts around a specific individual.

Researchers found the two perspectives were associated with significant differences in perceptions. Students who tended to have an inflated view of themselves at the habitual level were neither more or less liked by their classmates. However, self-inflation toward specific individuals changed how the students felt about each other. Interestingly, at both the habitual and relationship levels, students who self-enhanced disliked their classmates more than those with more realistic views of themselves.

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Source material from Psych Central


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