Despite the popularity of the idea in American culture that self-enhancement confers psychological benefits, the evidence for this idea is mixed. In the present research, we tested the contention that overly positive self-assessments could lead to psychological distress. In two correlational studies (Studies 1 and 2), we addressed some previous problems related to the measurement of self-enhancement. By measuring self-enhancement through the discrepancy between self-assessments of relative task performance and actual relative task performance, we found that self-enhancement, like self-effacement, was associated with greater vulnerability to depression. In two subsequent experiments (Studies 3 and 4), we found that leading low (or high) performers to perceive their performance as high (or low) through providing bogus performance feedback produced analogous effects on the magnitude of experienced dejection.
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