Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The Health Impacts Of Comparing Yourself To Others

umm….yes, I do compare myself. Always knew it wasn’t quite healthy at times,  this article seems to make sense..
On another note, this article may provide good tools in analyzing commercial advertisements (as radio, television, print media, and those pesky Web-based pop-ups). And perhaps to a degree public service announcements. No communication content is completely true!


The Health Impacts Of Comparing Yourself To Others

From the 9th February 2012 Medical News Today article

Comparing yourself to others with the same health problem can influence your physical and emotional health, according to researchers who conducted a qualitative synthesis of over 30 studies focusing on the relationship between social comparisons and health.

“If you’ve ever looked at another person and thought, ‘Well, at least I’m doing better than he is,’ or ‘Wow, I wish I could be doing as well as she is,’ you’re not alone,” said Josh Smyth, professor of biobehavioral health and of medicine, Penn State. “This phenomenon – first proposed in the 1950s – is common in daily life. When we’re unsure of how we’re doing, we can reduce uncertainty by getting information from others. People with chronic illnesses are particularly likely to compare themselves to others with the same illness.”

In their qualitative synthesis published in the current issue of Health Psychology Review, Smith and the researchers at Syracuse University and the University of Iowa found that people who compare “downward” to others who are worse off, are less depressed than people who compare “upward” to people who are better off. Downward comparisons often are associated with immediate positive feelings such as relief and gratitude.

But nearly as often, studies show the exact opposite. People who compare upward do better on physical health measures and report feeling hopeful about their ability to improve. Still other studies demonstrate the negative effects of both types of comparisons – downward comparisons can lead to sadness or worry and upward comparisons can lead to dejection. ,,,,

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment


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