Title

Examining the Effects of Self-Enhancement on Spending and Well-Being: An Experimental Analysis

Date of Award

1-1-2018

Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

Department

Department of Psychology

Advisor/Chair

Advisor: Erin O'Mara

Abstract

The primary aim of this study was to determine if there is a causal association between self-enhancement and spending behavior. A secondary aim was to further examine the causal association between self-enhancement and well-being and whether it relates to spending behavior.A 3(self-enhancement, positive affect, control) between-subjects design was employed with spending and well-being as the dependent variables. Mechanical Turk Participants (N=156) completed pre-manipulation measures of self-esteem and affect followed by the experimental manipulation. Participants were randomly assigned to either self-enhance by writing about their most important characteristic in comparison to other college students, increase positive affect by writing about a positive memory, or to move directly on to the rest of the study as a control. Participants then completed post-manipulation measures of self-esteem and affect to determine if self-enhancing affected self-esteem and affect differently compared to the positive affect condition and the control. Participants then completed a measure of their shopping motivation, a hypothetical shopping task which was used to measure spending, and several well-being measures used to form a composite measure of well-being.The results were computed using separate one-way analyses of variance for both spending during the shopping task and the well-being composite. The results failed to support the primary hypotheses that a negative causal association between self-enhancement and spending compared to the positive affect and control conditions and a positive causal association between self-enhancement and well-being compared to the control condition would be found.

Keywords

Social Psychology, self-enhancement, compensatory spending, spending and well-being, self-enhancement and spending

Rights Statement

Copyright 2018, author

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