The effect of social comparison information on the life satisfaction of frail older persons

Psychol Aging. 2004 Mar;19(1):183-90. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.19.1.183.


In this study, the authors examined the effects of social comparison on the life satisfaction of 455 community-dwelling older persons. These older persons were confronted with a fictitious interview with either an upward or a downward target. After downward comparison, older persons felt more satisfied with their lives than after upward comparison, especially those who had higher levels of frailty. These effects were only found with lower levels of identification. Apparently, downward comparison only serves its self-enhancing function on life satisfaction among frail older persons when they perceive the comparison target as different from themselves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires