Individual Differences in Social Comparison and its Consequences for Life Satisfaction. Introducing a Short Scale of the Iowa-Netherlands Comparison Orientation Measure
Research in social psychology has shown individual variation in the tendency to compare one’s own opinions and abilities with those of other people, raising the question of whether social comparisons are psychological dispositions. To test the empirical validity of this proposition, Gibbons and Buunk ( 1999 ) created an instrument, the Iowa–Netherlands Comparison Orientation Measure (INCOM), that measures the tendency to engage in social comparison and captures central aspects of the self and the other. This paper analyzes the reliability and validity of the INCOM scale for the German population and discusses potentials for shortening the instrument for continued use in large-scale population surveys. Interdependencies between psychological and structural characteristics are investigated and consequences for life satisfaction discussed. The results show evidence that individuals systematically vary in their orientation towards social comparison.