Washington, Aug 29: Men are more likely to feel subconsciously worse about themselves when their female partners succeed than when they fail, a new study has revealed.
The research, which looked at heterosexual Americans and Dutch, also found that women's self-esteem was not affected by their male partners' successes or failures.
Researcher Kate Ratliff, PhD, of the University of Florida studied 896 people in five experiments.
In one experiment, 32 couples from the University of Virginia were given what was described as a "test of problem solving and social intelligence" and then told that their partner scored either in the top or bottom 12 percent of all university students. Hearing that their partner scored high or low on the test did not affect what the researchers called participants' explicit self-esteem.
Participants were also given a test to determine how they felt subconsciously about their partners' performance, which the researchers called implicit self-esteem. In this test, a computer tracked how quickly people associate good and bad words with themselves.
Men who believed that their partner scored in the top 12 percent demonstrated significantly lower implicit self-esteem than men who believed their partner scored in the bottom 12 percent.
In the final two experiments, conducted online, 657 U.S. participants, 284 of whom were men, were asked to think about a time when their partner had succeeded or failed.
The researchers found that it didn't matter if the achievements or failures were social, intellectual or related to participants' own successes or failures - men subconsciously still felt worse about themselves when their partner succeeded than when she failed.
However, men's implicit self-esteem took a bigger hit when they thought about a time when their partner succeeded at something while they had failed.
The study is published by the American Psychological Association. (ANI)