Mark A Matthews



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This project aims to examine the extent to which self-enhancing, bolstering one’s views of oneself, uniquely affects spending behavior. Self-enhancement is associated with both improving self-esteem (Hepper, et al., 2010), well-being (O’Mara et al., 2012), and positive affect (Bonanno et al., 2005), all variables that affect spending well-being (Babin & Attaway, 2000; Yurchisin et al., 2008). Therefore, it is likely that self-enhancing will affect one’s spending while shopping, as well as their overall well-being after shopping. Participants will complete measures of their current mood and self-esteem. Participants will then be randomly assigned to one of three conditions. In the self-enhancement condition, participants will think about their most important trait and write about how this trait is more characteristic of them than other college students. In the affect condition, participants will think about recent positive event that occurred in their life and will reconstruct how that event came to be. In the control condition, participants will not perform any task. All participants will then complete measures of mood and self-esteem again, followed by a shopping simulation in which they will be asked to shop for items from the UD bookstore. Last, participants will complete measures of their overall well-being, including measures of mood, stress, anxiety, depression, and satisfaction with life. It is hypothesized that participants in the self-enhancement and the positive affect condition will spend more money and experience higher well-being than participants in the control condition. It is also hypothesized that participants in the self-enhancement condition will spend less money than participants in the affect condition.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Erin Marie O'Mara

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Does self-enhancement affect spending behavior? An experimental analysis