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Short Term Effects of Gossip Behavior on Self-Esteem

Cole, Jennifer M and Scrivener, Hannah (2013) Short Term Effects of Gossip Behavior on Self-Esteem. Current Psychology, 32. pp. 252-260. ISSN 1046-1310

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Abstract

Gossip is a frequent social activity, yet there is little research on the experience of providing gossip and how it impacts upon well-being of the gossiper. The present research aimed to investigate the effect of gossip behavior on the self-esteem of the gossiper. In Study 1, 140 participants were asked to write either a positive or negative description of a target person. Self-esteem was significantly reduced after providing a negative description but there was no effect of providing a positive one. In Study 2, 112 participants were asked to share information about someone they knew. Self-esteem decreased significantly regardless of the valence of the information. This research suggests that the act of gossiping is one which leads to self‐criticism regardless of valence.

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