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Khoo, A. (1999). Negative social comparison, academic failure and delinquency among Singaporean self-reported delinquents. In M. Waas (Ed.), Enhancing learning: Challenge of integrating thinking and information technology into the curriculum: Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the Educational Research Association ( pp. 415-419). Singapore: Educational Research Association.
This paper presents research findings suggesting that delinquency is a group strategy
adopted for coping with negative social comparison. Participants are adolescents in Singapore
schools who are identified through self-reports as delinquents and non delinquents. They are
presented with a vignette of a student who has failed an examination and is thus faced with the
threat of negative social comparison. Two coping strategies are given, one is a strategy of
competition adopted by the individual; the other is a group strategy of derogating the more
successful and hypothetical outgroup. Two other conditions are included, that of attribution of the
failure to lack of effort and to lack of ability. Findings support the hypothesis. Although there is
an overall preference for the individual-competitive strategy, delinquents compared to non
delinquents showed relatively higher evaluation of the outgroup-derogation strategy when the
attribution of failure was to lack of ability rather than lack of effort.
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the ERA Annual Conference held at Plaza Parkroyal Hotel, Singapore from 23-25 November 1998
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