This chapter is a reminder of social comparison theory's foundations in group processes rather than an extension of social comparison to groups. Social comparison research and theory, by tradition, stress individualistic, psychological purposes of comparison, such as satisfying basic drives, defining and enhancing the self, and alleviating distress or anxiety; but Festinger (1954) used the theory to explain shifts in members' opinions, elevated motivation and competition among members, opinion debates, and the rejection of dissenters in groups (Allen & Wilder, 1977; Goethals & Darley, 1987; Singer, 1981; Turner, 1991; Wheeler, 1991). This chapter revisits the theory's roots in groups before sampling some of the roles played by comparisonlike mechanisms in contemporary accounts of group dynamics.

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Copyright © 2000 Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. This book chapter first appeared in Handbook of Social Comparison: Theory and Research.

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