Objective: To examine how social comparison orientation (SCO) moderates the effects of three types of social comparison information on the global quality of life of cancer patients 2 weeks and 3 months later. Design: Cancer patients (n=226) were provided with social comparison information just prior to undergoing radiation therapy, using audiotapes. Each participant was confronted with one of three tapes: (1) focusing on procedural aspects, (2) focusing on emotional reactions and (3) focusing on coping strategies. Main outcome measures: Quality of life as measured with the Cantril self-anchoring scale [Cantril, H. (1965). The pattern of human concerns. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press]. Results: With increasing SCO, a lower quality of life was reported after listening to the emotion tape, while a higher quality of life was reported after listening to the coping tape. These effects were found 2 weeks as well as 3 months after the radiation therapy had ended. Conclusion: Social comparison information may have longitudinal effects on quality of life, but these effects are to an important extent dependent on the nature of the information and individual differences in SCO.
- social comparison
- quality of life
- social comparison orientation