The Relationship of Aversive and Appetitive Appearance-Related Comparisons with Depression, Well-Being, and Self-esteem: A Response Surface Analysis

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Katenhusen, S 
Morina, N 

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:sec jats:titlePurpose</jats:title> jats:pAversive appearance-related comparisons (i.e., threatening one’s own motives) show stronger associations with depression, psychological well-being, and self-esteem than appetitive comparisons (i.e., consonant with or challenging one’s motives). However, the relevance of their congruent (i.e., equal) and incongruent (i.e., unequal) presence remains unknown. </jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pBy using response surface analysis, we investigated differential associations of congruent high levels of aversive and appetitive comparisons with depression, well-being, and self-esteem relative to incongruent high levels of aversive (or appetitive) comparisons. Participants (jats:italicN</jats:italic> = 1112) responded to measures of depression, psychological well-being, self-esteem, and the Comparison Standards Scale for Appearance. The latter assesses aversive and appetitive social, temporal, counterfactual, criteria-based, and dimensional comparisons regarding their frequency, discrepancy to the standard, and affective impact. </jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleResults</jats:title> jats:pResults confirmed our preregistered hypotheses. First, higher levels of congruent frequency, discrepancy, or affective impact were associated with higher depression, and lower well-being and self-esteem. Second, a greater predominance of aversive over appetitive comparisons was associated with higher depression, and lower well-being and self-esteem. Third, a predominance of appetitive over aversive comparison was associated with lower depression, and higher well-being and self-esteem.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusions</jats:title> jats:pThe distinct patterns of the (in-)congruence of aversive and appetitive comparisons have important research and clinical implications.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

Comparison theory, Appearance-related comparisons, Depression, Well-being, Response surface analysis
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Cognitive Therapy and Research
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC