Self-enhancement and psychological adjustment: A meta-analytic review

M. Dufner*, J. E. Gebauer, C. Sedikides, J.J. A. Denissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article advances the debate about costs and benefits of self-enhancement (the tendency to maintain unrealistically positive self-views) with a comprehensive meta-analytic review (299 samples, N = 126,916). The review considers relations between self-enhancement and personal adjustment (life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, depression), and between self-enhancement and interpersonal adjustment (informant reports of domain-general social valuation, agency, communion). Self-enhancement was positively related to personal adjustment, and this relation was robust across sex, age, cohort, and culture. Important from a causal perspective, self-enhancement had a positive longitudinal effect on personal adjustment. The relation between self-enhancement and interpersonal adjustment was nuanced. Self-enhancement was positively related to domain-general social valuation at 0, but not long, acquaintance. Communal self-enhancement was positively linked to informant judgments of communion, whereas agentic self-enhancement was linked positively to agency but negatively to communion. Overall, the results suggest that self-enhancement is beneficial for personal adjustment but a mixed blessing for interpersonal adjustment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-72
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • ACCURACY
  • BIAS
  • ESTEEM
  • HUBRIS HYPOTHESIS
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • POSITIVE ILLUSIONS
  • PROTECTION STRATEGIES
  • SOCIAL COGNITION
  • agency
  • communion
  • interpersonal adjustment
  • meta-analysis
  • personal adjustment
  • positive illusions
  • self-enhancement
  • well-being

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