Downward comparison, prejudice, and evaluations of others: Effect of self-esteem and threat, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
In two studies, we explored the effects of trait self-esteem and threats to the self-concept on evaluations of others. In Study 1, subjects high, moderate, and low in self-esteem received either success, failure, or no feedback on a test and later evaluated three pairs of targets: in-groups and out-groups based on a minimal intergroup manipulation, those who scored above average and those who scored below average on the test, and themselves and the average college student. Study 2 explored the effects of self-esteem and threat on in-group favoritism in a real-world setting, campus sororities. Together, the results of these studies indicate that individuals high in self-esteem, but not those low in self-esteem, respond to threats to the self-concept by derogating out-groups relative to the in-group when the group boundaries have evaluative implications.
Jennifer Crocker, Leigh Thompson, Kathleen M. McGraw, Cindy Ingerman
Crocker, Jennifer, Leigh Thompson, Kathleen M. McGraw, and Cindy Ingerman. 1987. Downward comparison, prejudice, and evaluations of others: Effect of self-esteem and threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 52(5): 907-916.