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Social Comparison in mHealth: The Role of Similar Others and Feelings of Envy

Fallon, Monica; Schmidt-Kraepelin, Manuel; Warsinsky, Simon; Thiebes, Scott ORCID iD icon; Sunyaev, Ali


To foster ambitious goal setting, mHealth app developers increasingly implement social comparison features such as leaderboards. However, extant research does not sufficiently look at affective consequences of such features and their impact on goalsetting behavior. We focus on two aspects of social comparison to better address this issue: (1) the similarity of comparison targets and (2) the affective consequence of envy. We distinguish between two similarity dimensions (performance and related attributes) and two distinct emotions of envy (benign and malicious). In an experimental study, we find that comparing to targets similar on related attributes (age and gender) determines the relevance of the comparison and positively impacts benign and malicious envy. We further show that comparing to targets similar in performance (step count) decreases malicious envy and increases benign envy, based on appraisals of perceived control. Moreover, benign and malicious envy differentially impact goal-setting behavior.

Postprint §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000124345
Veröffentlicht am 17.12.2021
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Angewandte Informatik und Formale Beschreibungsverfahren (AIFB)
Publikationstyp Proceedingsbeitrag
Publikationsdatum 16.12.2020
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator KITopen-ID: 1000124345
Erschienen in Proceedings of the 51st International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS2020), December 13-16, 2020 (virtual conference)
Veranstaltung 41st International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2020), Online, 13.12.2020 – 16.12.2020
Externe Relationen Abstract/Volltext
Schlagwörter Social Comparison, Envy, mHealth, Gamification, Leaderboards
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