Social comparison with friends versus non-friends

Miranda J. Lubbers*, Hans Kuyper, Margaretha P.C. Van Der Werf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates whether several aspects of social comparison in school classes differ as a function of the type of relation between the student and his or her target. Participants were 9612 students in the first grade of secondary education in the Netherlands (equivalent to Grade 7 in the US). Results indicated that (1) 78% of the students who had at least one friend also compared with a friend; (2) social comparison with friends was much more often reciprocal than comparison with non-friends; (3) preferences for upward and downward comparison were less often given by students who compared with friends than students who compared with non-friends; (4) the similarity in initial performance level between students and their comparison targets was higher when targets were friends; (5) despite these differences, which seem to imply that friends often serve as routine standards whereas non-friends are more deliberately chosen as comparison targets, it appeared that consequences of social comparison for subsequent performance were about the same for both types of relations. Further findings of this paper suggest that previously found effects of friends ' grades on subsequent performance may be explained by social comparison. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-68
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


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