Section 57
Chapter 56,919

What drives self-affirmation effects? On the importance of differentiating value affirmation and attribute affirmation

Stapel, D.A.; van der Linde, L.A.J.G.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101(1): 34-45


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-3514
PMID: 21463078
DOI: 10.1037/a0023172
Accession: 056918483

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In a series of studies, it is demonstrated that different types of self-affirmation procedures produce different effects. Affirming personally important values (value affirmation) increases self-clarity but not self-esteem. Affirming positive qualities of the self (attribute affirmation) increases self-esteem but not self-clarity (Study 1). As a consequence, attribute affirmation (which increases self-esteem) is more effective than value affirmation as a buffer against self-depreciating social comparison information. Attribute-affirmed participants more readily accept the self-evaluative consequences of threatening upward social comparisons than do value-affirmed participants (Study 2). However, value affirmation (which increases self-clarity) is a more effective buffer against dissonance threats. Value-affirmed participants showed less attitude change after writing a counterattitudinal essay than attribute-affirmed participants (Study 3).

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