When Better-Than-Others Compare Upward: Choice of Comparison and Comparative Evaluation as Independent Predictors of Academic Performance Academic Article uri icon


  • Social comparison theory has linked improved performance to both the tendency to compare with others who are performing well and the tendency to view the self as better than others. However, little research has investigated the effects of either variable outside of a controlled laboratory environment. Moreover, there is reason to believe that the 2 tendencies would be in opposition to one another, because people who compare upward might subsequently view themselves as relatively less competent. The results of a longitudinal study of 876 students in their 1st year of secondary education indicated that both variables independently predicted improved academic performance and that these 2 tendencies did not conflict.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

altmetric score

  • 10

author list (cited authors)

  • Blanton, H., Buunk, B. P., Gibbons, F. X., & Kuyper, H.

citation count

  • 239

complete list of authors

  • Blanton, Hart||Buunk, Bram P||Gibbons, Frederick X||Kuyper, Hans

publication date

  • January 1999