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Development of a striving to avoid inferiority scale.Social rank theory suggests that mood variation is linked to the security a person feels in his/her social domain and the extent to which they are sensitive to involuntary subordination (e.g. feeling defeated and feeling inferior). Previous studies looking at rank‐related and competitive behaviour have often focused on striving for dominance, whereas social rank theory has focused on striving to avoid inferiority. This study set out to develop a measure of ‘Striving to Avoid Inferiority’ (SAIS) and assess its relationship to other rank and mood‐related variables. We hypothesized two factors: one we called insecure striving, relating to fear of rejection/criticism for ‘not keeping up’, and the second we called secure non‐striving, relating to feeling socially acceptable and valued regardless of whether one succeeds or not. This scale was given to 207 undergraduates. The SAIS had good psychometric properties, with the two factors of insecure striving and secure non‐striving strongly supported by exploratory factor analysis. Both factors were significantly (though contrastingly) related to various fears of rejection, need for validation, hypercompetitive attitudes, feeling inferior to others, submissive behaviour and indicators of stress, anxiety and depression. Striving to avoid inferiority was a significant predictor of psychopathologies, especially where individuals perceived themselves to have low social rank.
Social rank and attachment in people with a bipolar disorder.This paper explores the relationship between personal evaluations of attachment and personal evaluations of social rank, in relationship to mood variation in bipolar disorder. Forty patients with diagnosed bipolar affective disorder, who were regarded as ‘relatively stable’ by their psychiatrist, were given a set of self-report questionnaires, measuring attachment style, social comparison, submissive behaviour and various aspects of mood. Mood variation within this group was highly linked to variation in social rank evaluations. In particular, elevated mood was associated with feeling superior, while depression was associated with feeling inferior. Attachment also varied with mood but appeared to be less related to mood in this group. This study suggests that variation in social rank evaluations may be signiﬁcantly associated with mood variation in patients with a bipolar disorder.