Keeping up with the Joneses: Status projection as symbolic self-completion
Article first published online: 15 JUN 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Special Issue: The Centrality of Social Image in Social Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 4, pages 518–527, June 2011
How to Cite
Carr, H. L. and Vignoles, V. L. (2011), Keeping up with the Joneses: Status projection as symbolic self-completion. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 41: 518–527. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.812
- Issue published online: 15 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 15 JUN 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 APR 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 2 FEB 2011
- Manuscript Received: 28 JUN 2010
We studied the incidence and correlates of status projection—use of material possessions to emphasize social status to others—among 100 adolescents in a historical context of rising affluence. Participants listed 10 possessions, rated each for its value as a status symbol, and chose five to discuss with another participant in a forthcoming interaction. Participants selected especially those of their possessions that they had rated higher in status value (p < .001). This effect was stronger among those reporting upward or downward change in their families' socioeconomic status (p < .05), greater actual-ideal self-discrepancies (p < .05), and stronger commitment to materialistic values (p < .01); moreover, the effect of changing status was stronger among higher materialists (p < .05). These results indicate that people self-complete through presenting their possessions selectively to others, and they help to clarify the precise role of identity commitment in symbolic self-completion. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.